Russia’s Beeline (VimpelCom) and Swedish tech giant Ericsson have signed a two-year strategic partnership agreement to develop 5G and IoT technologies, focusing particularly on improving the flexibility and efficiency of spectrum and implementing new approaches to network architecture involving projects for core network evolution to 5G Core. The two companies will also deploy Massive MIMO on Beeline’s networks and develop 5G demonstration clusters. In addition, there will be joint projects on strategy to prepare Beeline’s networks for 5G, which includes scaling of LTE-A and LTE-A Pro technologies. IoT proof-of-concept testing is also one of the key parts of the agreement. Beeline and Ericsson are exploring the possibility to create an IoT Accelerator Lab for developers of IoT technologies and products and testing solutions based on NB-IoT and LTE-M in urban conditions. In addition, Beeline and Ericsson have launched an open zone for IoT testing in central Novosibirsk and on Academpark premises. Sebastian Tolstoy, Head of Ericsson in Russia, declared: ‘By 2021, we will be trialling key 5G technologies, deploying IoT technological clusters and developing new approaches to network architecture to enable 5G services on VimpelCom’s network.’
Brazil’s telecoms regulator Anatel has launched a public consultation aimed at simplifying regulations to stimulate development of IoT, and the agency will undertake information gathering for the project until 12 October. Device taxation has been identified as a major obstacle to IoT adoption in Brazil, and one proposed remedy is to remove tax on certain IoT devices altogether; in wider topics, the consultation document addresses issues related to funding grants, IoT model delivery, licensing, cyber security, spectrum, infrastructure, service quality (regarding both licensed and unlicensed spectrum-based services) and network roaming access. One proposed improvement regarding IoT roaming is to simplify MVNO regulation.
Elsewhere in Brazil, American Tower has surpassed 300,000 devices connected to its LoRaWAN 900MHz unlicensed spectrum network in a pilot operating phase covering Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte metropolitan areas. A full commercial launch is scheduled for Q4 2018, with American Tower expecting to end the year with half a million connected devices, rising to a million in 2019, with plans to expand LoRa coverage to more than 80 cities. The network currently has more than 15 companies (including wholesale operator customers) in the ‘final testing’ phase with applications in various verticals ‘from asset management to smart cities’, prominent among them being tracking/telemetry tech specialist Maxtrack.
Lastly, Ooredoo Myanmar has launched an IoT platform under an agreement with Nokia, claiming a ‘first of its kind’ in the south east Asian country. The partners have been running a ‘sensing as a service’ IoT proof of concept trial in Yangon over Ooredoo’s 4G cellular infrastructure, involving tracking environmental data such as humidity and temperature, which can be expanded to track more complex data such as pollution and methane levels and forecast weather/air quality changes. Vikram Sinha, CEO of Ooredoo Myanmar, said that the partnership with Nokia will ‘bring value addition to critical sectors such as public health, connected devices and homes, healthcare, and smart cities – pushing forward the government’s digital strategy and vision to use IoT technology to enhance sustainability and to improve citizens’ quality of life.’
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