US cellular giant Verizon is introducing voice capabilities to its nationwide Cat M network for IoT solutions, to serve applications using ‘fixed IoT voice services such as alarm panels with communications components’, it announced in a press release. Mobile voice service is enabled through a feature called Connected Mode Mobility (CMM), currently being deployed with expected completion within the next month. Verizon launched its commercial 4G LTE Category M1 (Cat M1, a.k.a. LTE-M) network nationwide in March 2017. Regarding its current range of IoT technologies, Verizon says that: ‘For small IoT solutions with data rates below 100kbps, NB-IoT Guardband technology is appropriate. For medium data needs Verizon has a nationwide Cat M network now with voice capabilities. For larger IoT solutions, Verizon’s nationwide Cat M1 network is the right fit,’ adding that its LTE network supports ‘IoT solutions with extra-large data needs’. Meanwhile, Fierce Wireless reported that rival US heavyweight AT&T says it is currently testing VoLTE on LTE-M over its network.
The world’s largest mobile operator by users China Mobile reported that it had 384 million active IoT connections on its networks by end-June 2018, more than doubled from 151 million connections it claimed twelve months earlier, whilst the operator’s H1 IoT revenues climbed by nearly 48% year-on-year. Cellular industry association GSMA’s website currently says that China Mobile’s NB-IoT network covers ‘at least 3,000 cities’ and the cellco is continuing to build out deeper national coverage in partnership with Huawei (aiming for ‘continuous coverage to areas at town level’ by the end of 2018). China Mobile’s most recent report did not disclose how many of its IoT/M2M connections were based on the NB-IoT technology.
Australian operator Telstra has launched new IoT tracking/location products for consumers and businesses, including ‘Telstra Locator’ (for tracking/finding valuable items such as keys or bikes, as well as pets), ‘Device Locator’ (for finding lost phones and tablets) and ‘Track & Monitor’ (for ‘low-cost business asset management’, e.g. for hardware and vehicles). The launches are built on Telstra’s deployment of Cat M1 (LTE-M) and NB-IoT technologies on its mobile network over the past twelve months.
In Belgium, the Flemish Ministry for Innovation has made EUR3.5 million (USD4.1 million) funding available for regional IoT projects, with 21 ventures lined up so far to receive government financing to support ‘City of Things’ developments, Telecompaper reported.
Lastly, Russian national operator Rostelecom and Gonets Satellite System, a subsidiary of federal space agency Roscosmos, have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation on satellite data transfer for developing IoT services for companies.
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