IoT Time: M2M/Internet of Things weekly digest

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5 Jul 2018

Taiwanese cellco Asia Pacific Telecom (APT) has launched commercial NB-IoT and LTE-M network services, targeting corporate customers in segments including retail, manufacturing, healthcare and public sectors, Mobile World Live reports. APT is also working with Asia Pacific Power on IoT-connected smart meter services, whilst it has also launched eSIMs which will be integrated with IoT devices. Both NB-IoT and LTE-M networks are currently based on the 900MHz frequency band; APT says it will add 700MHz spectrum in the future if requiring additional capacity. Taiwan’s regulatory authorities have issued nine million IoT-specific mobile numbers, of which APT – the fourth largest of five active cellcos in the country – has been allocated 2.5 million.

In the Netherlands, VodafoneZiggo has announced that its nationwide LTE-M network deployment is complete, augmenting its existing nationwide NB-IoT network. John van Vianen, director of B2B markets at VodafoneZiggo, said: ‘With LTE-M, Vodafone is expanding the IoT portfolio for customers … taking an important step in the development of 5G, with the speed and reliability of the network being further increased.’ LTE-M is suited for applications that require greater bandwidth compared to NB-IoT; LTE-M also supports VoLTE (relevant for solutions that require voice communication facilities, such as lifts or barriers). As an example of an early LTE-M project, VodafoneZiggo is partnering Conneqtech in developing connected ‘smart city bikes’.

Not far behind its Dutch rival, T-Mobile Netherlands has disclosed that it is beginning its LTE-M network testing with selected B2B customers this month (July 2018). T-Mobile, which already operates an NB-IoT network, indicated that LTE-M services will be commercially available in 2019.

Telia Company has announced that it will be the first network operator group to offer full NB-IoT coverage across the entire Nordic region when subsidiary Telia Denmark carries out a plan to switch on nationwide NB-IoT coverage later this year. Telia Denmark’s NB-IoT network currently reaches around half of the country, with ongoing trial services for selected corporate customers such as Best Water Technology (BWT). Henrik Kofod, Head of Technology at Telia Denmark, confirmed the plan for full nationwide coverage this year, adding: ‘With NB-IoT we will be able to address customer needs in a way that hasn’t been technically possible or economically sound before. NB-IoT is also an important step on the road towards 5G.’

IoT chipmaker Sequans and Japan’s NTT DOCOMO have forged an agreement to accelerate the development of NB-IoT devices and applications on DOCOMO’s network, using Sequans’ optimised ‘Monarch’ LTE-M/NB-IoT platform and its NB-IoT-only version ‘Monarch N’. The goal of the new agreement is ‘to develop and mature an end-to-end NB-IoT ecosystem in Japan’ and reach widespread adoption of NB-IoT technology. Toshiyuki Futakata of DOCOMO said: ‘Following our successful work together [with Sequans] on LTE-M, we look forward to continuing our success in NB-IoT.’

Indonesian triple-play cableco/fibre broadband operator Link Net (First Media) has signed an agreement with Japan’s SoftBank on development and deployment of IoT platforms and solutions across the real estate, healthcare and mobility ecosystems in Indonesia. Deployment will begin at the cableco’s parent Lippo Group’s ‘mega-development’ Meikarta City, Lippo Malls and Siloam Hospitals. First Media said that initiatives in the first-phase will involve ‘deployment of IoT devices coupled with video analytics involving homes, commercial buildings, malls, offices, streets and other areas’ across the various property developments in the Lippo Group.

Lastly, in Argentina, LoRaWAN IoT operator Yeap! is investing USD30 million to deploy its network, TeleSemana reports. The new network already covers metropolitan Buenos Aires, north/west Greater Buenos Aires, Mar del Plata, Tucuman, Cordoba, Jujuy, Neuquen and Santa Fe, with Yeap! – backed by Inversiones Condor (ICondor) – aiming to reach southern Greater Buenos Aires, Rosario, Santa Rosa and Salta by end-2018 with a goal of nationwide coverage in 2019. Yeap! is awaiting authorisation from regulator Enacom to launch full commercial operations. The company is also working on similar projects in Paraguay, Uruguay and Colombia, with LoRaWAN deployments also planned for Brazil and the US next year.

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