Japan’s KDDI (au) has confirmed that it launched commercial LTE-M-based low power, wide area (LPWA) IoT network services in January 2018. KDDI’s initial LPWA projects include smart gas metering, whilst it is aiming to create new value added LPWA-based services through joint development with Toyokeiki Co. A presentation from KDDI also highlighted that it continues to promote the expansion of its ‘au Home’ residential IoT services launched in July 2017 with various cross-sector partners, and is also committed to further development of autonomous car technology. Note that in June 2017 KDDI disclosed that it was weighing up the options for its initial licensed-bandwidth cellular IoT launch using either NB-IoT or LTE-M technology, and it subsequently plumped for the latter.
Telefonica and Huawei have claimed a ‘world first’ Proof-of-Concept (PoC) testbed for 5G-based vehicle communication networks (known as 5G-V2X) in their 5G Joint Innovation Lab in Madrid. A press release said: ‘5G-V2X is widely recognised as the first and most important vertical industry which will be enabled by 5G innovations. The test for 5G-V2X technology is based on the latest 3GPP New Radio (NR) Standard specification available since December 2017. Some of the most advanced 5G-V2X services include vehicles platooning, extended sensors, advanced driving and remote driving, among others. Enabling the capability for self-driving will require further enhancements of the 5G NR system, in conjunction with a new NR Sidelink to allow vehicle-to-vehicle communications.’
A rival announcement from South Korea’s SK Telecom (SKT) this week claimed a ‘world first’ test of self-driving automobiles using a ‘5G’ network. Two of SKT’s autonomous cars operated on a 2km track, exchanging real-time traffic information through an ultra-high speed network, enabling the vehicles to effectively sense their environment, avoid obstacles, slow down at a designated ‘school zone’ and make an emergency stop when a simulated pedestrian suddenly entered the road, the company said. SKT added that its test vehicles also correctly increased speed when there was sufficient distance from other automobiles.
And yet more automobile news, Orange Spain and SEAT have signed an agreement to promote new advances in connected cars, focusing on three main areas: improving the experience of vehicle occupants by developing connected car innovations; expanding the ‘digital home or office’ experience to car users; and implementing a loyalty programme promoting the frequent use of new connectivity and mobility solutions launched via the partnership. SEAT Head of Business Development Arantxa Alonso said that the venture ‘opens up a large collaborative space for both companies that are pursuing a common goal’.
Estonia’s Connected Baltics and Levira have entered into a partnership under which Levira will offer Sigfox LPWA-based IoT connectivity provided by Connected Baltics as part of the Levira IoT service range.
South Africa’s Vox Telecom has announced plans for 2018 including the launch of an IoT platform and a range of integrated digital entertainment products, capitalising on its ZAR550 million (USD46 million) investment in fibre-optic infrastructure in 2017, having increased its fibre coverage from 3,700km to 18,000km.
Swedish LTE mobile broadband network operator Net 1 (part of Ice Group) says it will expand M2M services, having earlier this week secured the rights to nationwide 450MHz spectrum until the end of 2044. Managing director Linus Jonsson said that following the win, Net 1 can now continue its expansion in the M2M market and commit more investment in IoT.
In regulatory affairs, the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) has published its Authorisation Framework for the Accommodation of White Space Radiocommunications Devices, utilising dynamic spectrum access to enable usage of TV White Space technology for broadband connectivity in underserved areas as well as other applications including M2M communications. Elsewhere, the Belgian Institute for Post and Telecommunications (BIPT) has amended Belgium’s national numbering plan to accommodate new options for IoT and eCall services, extending the existing M2M ‘077’ number range for other connected devices such as cars, lifts or wearables; the latest rules also support the launch of eCall for all new EU cars from April 2018.
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