IoT Time: M2M/Internet of Things weekly digest

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3 Aug 2017

Australian carrier Telstra has activated LTE Category M1 (Cat-M1 or LTE-M) IoT technology across its ‘4GX’ mobile network, claiming to be the first in the country to offer the technology commercially, enabling low-cost IoT devices such as sensors and monitors, to have greater reach in distance and depth into buildings. Looking ahead, Telstra is reportedly planning to deploy range extension capability ‘shortly’, which it says will take the Cat-M1 coverage footprint for compatible devices to more than three million square kilometres.

Japan’s KDDI has agreed to purchase Soracom, an M2M-focused MVNO and IoT platform provider, in a deal expected to complete by the end of August. Soracom, established in 2014, operates over NTT DOCOMO’s mobile network, connecting clients’ sensors and other equipment to the internet, at highly competitive prices. Applications of Soracom’s services include building management, logistics, public transport and agriculture, with around 7,000 companies currently on its books as customers in Japan, whilst the company expanded its services to Europe and the US last year (serving around 800 businesses overseas). The Nikkei Asian Review estimated that the takeover deal was worth the equivalent of around USD181 million.

Bangladeshi cellco Robi Axiata is partnering nCinga to introduce IoT-based smart factory services for the readymade garments (RMG) sector. Singapore-based nCinga targets manufacturers with its industrial IoT-based smart factory shopfloor service ‘nFactory’.

Vodafone Czech Republic is on course to launch commercial NB-IoT network services this autumn, with pilot schemes continuing with partners including Czech smart home equipment producer Jablotron, metering firm Landis+Gyr and research institute VUT Brno. Working with China’s Huawei on the rollout, pilot services have been deployed in selected locations in Prague, Brno, Ostrava, Plzen and Ceske Budejovice, and by the time of full launch Vodafone intends to have comprehensive NB-IoT network coverage.

Ooredoo Oman has expanded its B2B M2M services range with a ‘Global M2M Plan’ enabling services such as worldwide tracking of objects. The company stated that users will be able to monitor assets across the world whilst improving operational efficiency and minimising costs. Each SIM card on the Global M2M Plan costs OMR3 (USD7.80) per month, with free global roaming and 5MB monthly data, with bundles of one to ‘over 500’ SIM cards available.

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Australia, Bangladesh, Czech Republic, Japan, Huawei Technologies, KDDI (au), Ooredoo Oman, Robi Axiata, Soracom, Telstra (incl. Belong), Vodafone Czech Republic