US giant AT&T, France-based Orange Group, Dutch telco KPN and Swisscom have activated LTE-M roaming across their respective IoT networks, enabling low-power devices to efficiently operate on multiple networks across North America and Europe. AT&T’s LTE-M network spans the US and Mexico, whilst KPN and Swisscom offer nationwide LTE-M coverage of the Netherlands and Switzerland respectively. Orange Group’s LTE-M service is currently available across France, Romania and Spain (see below), with launches in Belgium, Slovakia and Poland upcoming this year. The four carrier groups aim to add additional roaming operator partners in the coming months. John Wojewoda, AVP for Global Connections Management at AT&T, said: ‘More and more of our enterprise customers require global capabilities as they deploy IoT devices and applications. These LTE-M roaming agreements help meet that demand and make it easier for businesses around the world to benefit from the power of a globalised IoT.’ Carolien Nijhuis, Director of IoT at KPN, added: ‘The introduction of LTE-M creates many new possibilities for our partners, customers and prospects. Roaming with LTE-M has been one of the most requested features by our customers in the market.’ Didier Lelievre, director of mobile wholesale & interconnection for Orange, stated: ‘Enabling access to roaming on LTE-M for our customers is a clear priority for Orange.’ Julian Domer, Head of IoT at Swisscom, indicated that the cross-border LTE-M development would contribute towards ‘2G [M2M] replacement’.
Orange Spain this week activated its LTE-M network countrywide, nearly two years after conducting its initial trials, having been testing the network with clients/partners in sectors including asset tracking, energy metering, smart city applications and remote controlled machinery.
Russia’s Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) has this week announced the latest expansion of its NB-IoT network, in the Tambov region. MTS claimed the launch of ‘the first Russia-wide NB-IoT network’ in September last year, with NB-IoT coverage since reaching more than 50 regions.
Elsewhere in Russia, fellow major mobile player MegaFon has launched a new service unit, the ‘Digital Management Company’, to serve property management companies and residents, based on IoT technologies. The service enables apartment building dwellers to communicate with property management staff whilst controlling/monitoring utility services and payments, and transferring data from utility meters and other devices.
Portuguese telecoms regulator ANACOM has decided to allocate a specific range in the national numbering plan for M2M services. Based on the expected massive demand for connected devices, the current shared usage of general numbering resources allocated for mobile phones was deemed inadequate by the watchdog.
In other regulatory matters, Taiwan’s newly-passed Telecommunications Management Act is expected to help accelerate the development, installation and upgrade of new-generation 5G and smart city/IoT systems, Digitimes reported, quoting the country’s National Communications Commission (NCC). The new law is aimed at supporting operators either building their own infrastructure or renting infrastructure from peers whilst enabling flexible and efficient utilisation of frequency spectrum resources.
Lastly, Beeline Kazakhstan has launched an NB-IoT network test zone in the Pavlodar region, supporting cattle monitoring by farmers using smart sensors, in collaboration with Digital Hub. The cellco’s first NB-IoT tests were announced back in December 2017, whilst in March 2018 it began installing NB-IoT energy meters with KazTransGaz.
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