Mobile industry trade association the GSMA has issued a report titled ‘NB-IoT and LTE-M in the 5G context’ which confirms that standards body 3GPP’s Release 15 (set for completion in June) will incorporate NB-IoT and LTE-M as official 5G mobile standards for low power wide area (LPWA) access. The report said that 3GPP will ‘not include any additional LPWA requirements in its next release, meaning that NB-IoT and LTE-M will coexist with other 3GPP technologies and fulfil long-term 5G LPWA requirements.’ It added: ‘3GPP is also investigating options for the 5G core network to support NB-IoT and LTE-M radio access network. This will enable a smooth operator migration path to 5G NR frequency bands while preserving NB-IoT and LTE-M deployments.’ According to the GSMA, to date 24 mobile operators have commercially launched 48 NB-IoT/LTE-M networks worldwide.
In the US, Leverege has licensed its IoT technology platform to Cox Communications for the recently-launched Cox2M Connected Asset Services, with Leverege also providing system integration services to Cox ‘across all target verticals including transportation, fleet management, smart cities, energy, agriculture, real estate, and retail’. Cox2M solutions provide customers with the turnkey ability to monitor and track commercial assets such as inventory, equipment or infrastructure (‘everything from cars to power lines’). Josh Sommer, executive director of new growth strategy for Cox, said that the Leverege IoT platform/system integrator service was chosen for reasons including ‘modularity and customisation of the technology’, ‘advanced analytics and machine learning capabilities’, and ‘rapid prototyping tools that greatly accelerate the development of end-to-end IoT solutions’.
Staying Stateside, Verizon has announced that ThingSpace, its IoT platform designed to help businesses and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) create, test, connect and bring IoT ideas to market, has a new set of services called ThingSpace Ready. Designed to help device developers easily and cost effectively build, certify and manage devices on Verizon’s network, ThingSpace Ready assists with the acquisition of more affordable cellular modules, IoT SIMs and hardware design services via new partnerships with Bittium, G+D Mobile Security, Mobilogix, Quectel, Sequans and u-blox, with additional partners to be announced. In 2017 Verizon was first to market with a national-scope US commercial 4G LTE Cat-M1 network, spanning 2.57 million square miles. As of April 2018, ThingSpace supported connectivity in over 200 countries and territories via global agreements.
The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) has released its M2M/IoT numbering plan for public consultation, noting that a dramatic increase in the volume of M2M devices and IoT applications being deployed – as well as the expected growth in the market – has made it necessary to create a dedicated number range. A 15-digit M2M/IoT numbering range is proposed (compared to the existing cellular twelve-digit range), in accordance with ITU-T Recommendation E.164 (with provisions for subscriber facilities including number portability, caller line identification and access to emergency services), whilst the activation of M2M devices ‘and all other devices with eSIM’ shall be subject to Tanzania’s SIM Card Registration Regulations, 2018.
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