IoT Time: M2M/Internet of Things weekly digest

16 May 2019

Verizon has launched the United States’ third national NB-IoT network, following rivals T-Mobile and AT&T. Claiming 92% NB-IoT population coverage from the get-go, Verizon’s new network augments its existing LTE-M IoT services, and utilises ‘guard band’ spectrum as an exclusive IoT bandwidth allocation (as do the networks of AT&T and T-Mobile). Verizon says that enterprise customers can quickly bring IoT solutions to market on its ‘coast to coast’ NB-IoT network by using its ‘ThingSpace’ IoT management platform, while manufacturers Telit, SIM-COM and Quectel have NB-IoT modules on the network which are ready to be used in development projects. Verizon also announced an NB-IoT Standard Price Plan, offering 50kB of data with a USD1.00 monthly access fee per device. The data allowance can be shared with other NB-IoT devices on the same price plan. The operator highlighted ideal use cases for NB-IoT technology, including: smart cities (e.g. parking sensors, waste management and smart lighting); smart buildings (safety and incident monitoring, e.g. smoke detectors); industrial (improving machinery maintenance cycles and factory safety); environmental monitoring; smart agriculture; asset tracking; utility metering and pipeline monitoring.

Hutchison Drei Austria (3) has announced the nationwide completion of its NB-IoT network rollout, and is already offering ‘live’ access to an initial group of selected companies for connecting sensors, modems and other devices. The network will be publicly available across Austria with its own special tariff ‘in a few weeks’, the cellco disclosed in a press release, citing cost and energy savings as the biggest advantages of NB-IoT technology, alongside coverage advantages (e.g. deep indoor/underground coverage).

Russia’s largest mobile operator by subscribers Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) has launched a promotional NB-IoT tariff, valid until the end of the year, giving B2B customers a specialised SIM card and access to MTS’ IoT platform for the token price of RUB1 (USD0.015). MTS’ NB-IoT network was switched on last year and currently covers over 50 regions. This week, meanwhile, MTS acquired cloud service provider IT-Grad (including Kazakhstan subsidiary Oblako.kz).

LoRaWAN IoT operator American Tower (Brazil) has disclosed that its LPWA network has reached coverage of more than 40 Brazilian cities, with plans to expand the footprint to over 80 cities by the start of 2020.

Lastly, South Africa’s Vodacom has struck a deal to buy a 51% stake in South African IoT specialist IoT.nxt for an undisclosed price, subject to antimonopoly approval. Pretoria-based IoT.nxt, founded in 2015, also has offices in the US and the Netherlands.

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