IoT Time: M2M/Internet of Things weekly digest

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1 Feb 2018

Telenor Norway this week opened a new test lab for developing IoT solutions ahead of a scheduled 1 October 2018 ‘nationwide’ NB-IoT and LTE-M network launch. Ove Fredheim, Head of Telenor Norway’s Corporate Division, recapped: ‘We opened our 4G network for selected IoT partners and clients for testing and prototyping NB-IoT at 26 locations in Norway in 2017 … Ericsson has contributed IoT expertise and equipment to a dedicated virtual core network. The results of the pilots are very promising and we have many customers waiting for the new network … Today there are over 1.2 million things connected to Telenor’s mobile networks, and on 1 October we open a new nationwide network for things in Norway’s largest 4G network. By 2020, we estimate that there will be more things than people connected to Telenor’s network.’

Elsewhere in Scandinavia, the Finnish postal service Posti and network operator Telia Finland have developed a ‘world-first’ smart mailbox utilising NB-IoT technology. The connected mailbox sends information in real time, such as notifying if mail is deposited, if the box is full or empty, or if it has been opened or vandalised. A three-month pilot began in Helsinki and Oulu in December 2017, with plans to ‘smarten’ 5,000 post boxes nationwide.

German giant Deutsche Telekom (DT) has joined the Industrial Internet Consortium, which aims to accelerate the adoption of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) globally with a cross-industry oriented approach, including Smart City solutions, manufacturing, energy, healthcare and transportation. DT says it will strengthen the European footprint in the Consortium, bringing to the table expertise in IoT connectivity, especially NB-IoT and nascent 5G technology. DT currently operates NB-IoT networks in eight European countries and the US. The group rolled out its first nationwide NB-IoT network in the Netherlands (T-Mobile) in May 2017, whilst its German (Telekom Deutschland) NB-IoT services now cover approximately 600 towns and cities, with more than 200 German companies trialling the technology (the latest announced project being a smart parking rollout in Hamburg this week). In late 2017 the DT group also launched NB-IoT in cities around Poland (T-Mobile), Hungary (Magyar Telekom), Czech Republic (T-Mobile), Austria (T-Mobile), Slovakia (Slovak Telekom) and Greece (Cosmote), followed by T-Mobile US’ January 2018 launch, and nationwide coverage is planned in several of these countries by the end of the year.

Qatar’s Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) has drawn up a preliminary frequency plan for 5G, to enable Qatari operators to conduct formal testing on pre-standard 5G networks, with a key aim being ‘to provide better support for Machine-to-Machine and Internet of Things applications, at a lower cost and higher responsiveness time when compared to devices running on 4G networks’, a statement from the regulator said. Ooredoo and Vodafone Qatar will be assigned test bands in the 700MHz, 3.5GHz and 26GHz ranges, with an eye on deploying commercial 5G networks by ‘early 2019’ according to CRA president Mohammed Ali Al-Mannai.

In a similar vein, Russia’s State Commission for Radio Frequencies (SCRF) has issued a decision permitting the development/usage of NB-IoT services by network operators in a wide range of existing licensed 2G/3G/4G bands, namely the 450MHz, 800MHz, 900МHz, 1800МHz, 2100MHz and 2600MHz spectrum ranges. Meanwhile, Ireland’s telecoms regulator ComReg has proposed allocating a new dedicated number range (088) for M2M/IoT services under a consultation on mobile numbering proposals which closes on 7 March.

Jersey-based operator JT has announced it is launching ‘a second low power wide area (LPWA) IoT network’ on the island, although it did not initially clarify the actual technology platform being used. Previously JT announced the launch of a LoRaWAN IoT network on Jersey in February 2017, whilst it operates a well-established 2G/3G/4G cellular network. Furthermore, JT has an extensive international M2M/IoT business, providing companies with global device connectivity via over 600 mobile network roaming agreements in over 180 countries; the company says there are currently over 1.4 million JT M2M SIM cards connecting devices worldwide ‘from heart monitors in Canada to payment systems in West Africa’. JT’s latest local LPWA rollout in partnership with Sony Semiconductor Solutions and Sony Europe achieved comprehensive coverage on Jersey by deploying just two receivers in the central and southern regions of the island. Furthermore, JT and Digital Jersey are launching an IoT Lab based at one of JT’s exchanges, offering companies the opportunity to collaborate on product development.

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