The UAE’s Emirates Integrated Telecommunication Company (du) has announced the launch of NB-IoT services based on 3GPP Release 14 standards in partnership with Nokia, Affirmed Networks and MediaTek, incorporating a purpose-built IoT platform to enable devices to deliver ‘a wealth of smart city applications ranging from smart metering, smart parking, trackers, smart health, industrial and agriculture use cases’. Saleem Alblooshi, Chief Infrastructure Officer at du, said: ‘The development of IoT is critical to the rollout of 5G and today marks an exciting milestone as we launch a state-of-the-art NB-IoT ecosystem in the UAE. Unlike the previous generation Release 13 NB-IoT, the launch of the first 3GPP Release 14 NB-IoT network opens up possibilities of newer implementations due to the higher throughput, lower latency and mobility enhancements. We are excited to be a step closer to realise the vision of the UAE leadership to build the smartest city in the world and achieve digital transformation.’ Bernard Najm, Head of the Middle East Market Unit at Nokia, added: ‘This launch marks a milestone in the UAE in creating a cost-efficient IoT ecosystem with the country’s LTE asset, connecting numerous devices. It allows the operator to introduce innovative services in various verticals such as energy, water, home appliances, transport, healthcare, and manufacturing, creating revenue opportunities as well as comfort in lifestyle.’
New Zealand’s Spark has completed a nationwide rollout of its LTE-M (Cat-M1) IoT network, covering 98% of the country’s population via deployment (beginning September 2018) on over 96% of Spark’s existing mobile network sites. Spark says the Cat-M1 network significantly expands the range of things that businesses across New Zealand can connect to, providing insights and control that may have not been previously possible. The network is specifically designed for low cost, long battery life devices that provide real-time data to businesses. Spark’s first customer to use the network is Trans-Tasman smart metering provider intelliHUB, which is currently accelerating the installation of 150,000 smart electricity meters to *Trustpower*’s customer base and is looking to expand its service business into other IoT services including smart gas metering, solar monitoring and demand response applications. Spark also operates a LoRaWAN IoT network, which it says is ideally suited for low data rate applications.
In Liberia, the recent licensing of start-up operator JamCell was accompanied by an announcement from the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) that JamCell is partnering with Ericsson to roll out ‘pre-5G’ technology including ‘Narrow Band’ services over an LTE network, looking to support developments including smart city applications with ‘low power wide area’ capabilities – implying that NB-IoT deployment is likely. JamCell is expected to launch operations in 2021 and has proposed investment close to USD100 million.
Briefly looking at some European developments, Vodafone Romania has launched an IoT product range tailored to businesses in several industries, including retail solutions designed to accelerate companies’ digital transformation programmes, and improve efficiency and customer experience. Vodafone Netherlands has inked an international LTE-M network device roaming agreement with US giant AT&T, to take effect later this year, claiming a US-Europe first-of-its-type deal. In Germany, Deutsche Telekom has launched its ‘IoT Solution Optimiser’, providing technical consultancy and customer service for B2B NB-IoT-based solution users, aimed at vertical sectors including smart cities, security, asset tracking and others.
Sigfox reported that the number of objects connected across its IoT networks globally rose 148% in full-year 2018 to 6.2 million, meeting its target, as the network footprint passed more than a billion population in 60 countries, also in line with expectations. Sigfox networks, using unlicensed frequencies, are operated by third-party/associate companies, typically on a nationally exclusive basis. The French-based group’s own revenue rose to EUR60 million (USD68.1 million) in 2018 up 20% from EUR50 million in 2017 (a rate declining from 56% in 2017), below its initial turnover growth target.
Lastly, the France-based ETSI Technical Committee on Cybersecurity has unveiled the ‘first globally applicable’ standard for consumer IoT security: the ‘ETSI TS 103 645’ (Version 1.1.1) standard aims to establish a security baseline for consumer internet-connected products and serve as a basis for future IoT certification schemes.
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