The letters actually refer to the connector shell size and are really independing of the number of pins. For example, a DB shell could have fewer than 25 pins. Some have two or even three heavy pins (one for power, 2 for return) and some signal pins. The reason the the 9-pin is designated DE is because it was developed after A, B, C, and D, sizes.
Replay available now: A handful of emerging network technologies are competing to be the preferred wide-area connection for the Internet of Things. All claim lower costs and power use than cellular but none have wide deployment yet. Listen in as proponents of leading contenders make their case to be the metro or national IoT network of the future. Rick Merritt, EE Times Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, moderators this discussion. Join in and ask his guests questions.