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IoT Time: M2M/Internet of Things weekly digest

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14 Dec 2017

Belarusian telco velcom has launched NB-IoT network services in Minsk, claiming a country first. NB-IoT coverage extends across the entire capital city from launch, velcom announced, with usage of the 900MHz network free-of-charge for the first few months, as an incentive to developers ‘to actively implement and launch modern technological solutions in Minsk’, the company said. velcom holds regulatory permission to use 200kHz of 900MHz spectrum with guard intervals for IoT (part of an existing cellular 900MHz allocation), which does not affect the operation of other networks, it notes. Going forward, it intends to deploy NB-IoT in regional and district centres ‘soon’. velcom has existing NB-IoT partnership agreements with several smart utility metering companies alongside telemetry and industrial automation projects.

Pixel Networks has won Hong Kong’s first Wireless IoT (WIoT) licence, following a tender in the 920MHz-925MHz spectrum range implemented by the Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA). Pixel currently offers a Hong Kong-wide LoRaWAN-based low power wide area (LPWA) IoT network, and its CEO Kirill Nosov declared that the WIoT licence will set the legal foundation for IoT service provision, adding: ‘According to our research, the WIoT dedicated licensing regime developed by OFCA is the first of its kind in the world, which reflects Hong Kong’s dedication to Smart City development.’

Orange Belgium has announced the ‘nationwide’ rollout of LPWA IoT network coverage based on NB-IoT and LTE-M technologies. Various ongoing projects using the cellular IoT network include a connected bicycles collaboration with the Flemish government, Huawei and Sensinxs; elsewhere, IMEC is testing a smart plug project as part of Antwerp’s City of Things programme, whilst a Belgian smart parking solution is in development with CommuniThings.

Slovak Telekom (ST), part of the Deutsche Telekom (DT) group, has launched pilot NB-IoT network services, claiming a first in Slovakia. ST’s pilot NB-IoT service is live in and around the capital Bratislava and one other city, Trnava.

Similarly, in the other half of the former Czechoslovakia, ST’s sister company in the DT group, T-Mobile Czech Republic, has launched pilot NB-IoT network services in the capital city Prague, with limited expansion of the pilot project planned for January 2018, and national rollout expected after that. T-Mobile operates an existing LPWA IoT system using Sigfox technology, with coverage across the country.

Singapore-based mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE) Plintron has launched a new IoT offer, as it seeks to increase its presence in that sector. The vendor claims that its cloud infrastructure, access to data centres and wholesale cellular access in multiple countries helps to position it as an enabler for IoT businesses. In May this year Plintron commercially launched its MVNE services nationwide in India, having the previous month announced its entry into the Brazilian market via an agreement to partner Surf Telecom in launching mobile virtual network aggregator (MVNA) services throughout the country.

Telefonica Brasil (Vivo) has announced reaching one million ‘Smart M2M’ connections operating via its M2M Smart Centre management platform. Vivo claims a leading position in the Brazilian cellular M2M segment with a market share of above 40%.

Finally, Russia’s State Commission for Radio Frequencies (SCRF) is expected to approve a draft decision at a meeting on 28 December to allow the Federation’s major cellcos MTS, MegaFon, Beeline and Tele2 to launch commercial NB-IoT services within their existing various frequency ranges currently used for GSM/3G/4G LTE cellular services.

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