IoT Time: M2M/Internet of Things weekly digest

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2 Aug 2018

Following the recent announcement that Ukrainian operator Lifecell has opted to deploy a LoRaWAN LPWA IoT network, its larger rivals Kyivstar and Vodafone Ukraine are planning a different LPWA IoT rollout strategy based on NB-IoT technology, reports BizLiga. Spokespeople from both cellcos were quoted as backing the NB-IoT LTE-based evolution over the unlicensed spectrum-based LoRa platform, with Vodafone lauding benefits of NB-IoT including its standardisation, indoor/underground coverage capabilities, ability to serve a massive number of connections, low power consumption and future compatibility with operators across Europe. Kyivstar similarly highlighted the standardisation of NB-IoT as a plus point, as well as the ability to deploy the tech across its existing LTE base stations, and noted that it will use the LTE 1800MHz spectrum band for NB-IoT operations and, in the future, 900MHz frequencies. Neither Kyivstar nor Vodafone Ukraine have revealed a target date for their NB-IoT launch, however.

Vodafone Germany has to-date switched on NB-IoT coverage over 54% of its LTE network, encompassing 65 of the country’s 80 largest cities. Within two months Vodafone is targeting 90% NB-IoT coverage of the LTE network, with capacity for up to four billion connected devices. Elsewhere in Europe, Vodafone Spain is embarking on an NB-IoT-based water metering test rollout in Madrid with utility firm Canal de Isabel II and smart meter company Contazara, whilst Deutsche Telekom and 1NCE have claimed the launch of the first pan-European flat-rate data package for IoT devices – charging a one-off EUR10 (USD11.68) for 500MB covering the device service lifespan of ten years.

Meanwhile, on planet LoRa, Telekom Srbija has claimed a regional first with the launch of its LoRaWAN network in Serbian capital Belgrade and environs, in partnership with Bitgear, and plans to extend coverage nationwide. Russian operator MTT is deploying the first LoRaWAN network in the city of Samara, via a partnership with local telco Telecom Samara and Innoventica. In the UK, the city of Hull has a new ‘carrier grade’ LoRaWAN network courtesy of Connexin which has installed LoRa gateways across the city and surrounding areas. Finally, Chinese internet investment giant Tencent revealed it is building a LoRaWAN network in Shenzhen with local partners, news which accompanied the conglomerate’s decision to join the LoRa Alliance. Hongtao Bie, Vice President of Tencent Technologies, stated: ‘LoRaWAN has seen rapid growth, and we feel it is highly complementary to NB-IoT in the LPWAN market. Joining the LoRa Alliance will allow us to influence LoRaWAN development, advance IoT adoption, and strengthen our cloud business by building close partnerships with other LoRaWAN vendors around the world.’

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