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IoT Time: Internet of Things digest

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14 May 2020

US satellite TV operator DISH Network has dropped plans to complete deployment of an NB-IoT network to focus on 5G network rollout and entrance into the mobile market, Mobile World Live reports. DISH chairman Charlie Ergen stated during an earnings call that abandoning the company’s USD500 million investment in the NB-IoT network was ‘not great, but the right thing to do’, with the firm booking a USD253 million impairment charge covering NB-IoT-related assets which will not be reused via 5G rollout. The NB-IoT network was originally intended to help DISH meet build-out deadlines stipulated by its spectrum licences, with Ericsson contracted for the deployment, but the project was scrapped after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) extended the deadlines as part of its approval of T-Mobile US and Sprint’s merger. Ergen added that DISH could acquire Sprint’s Boost Mobile pre-paid assets by 1 June at the earliest, while it aims to launch its own pre-paid services in at least one US market by end-2020, with post-paid to follow in 2021. DISH expects to spend USD250 million-USD500 million on mobile projects in full-year 2020, and is in the process of selecting 5G vendors, having publicly named its first supplier Mavenir to provide OpenRAN software last month.

Singapore’s Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA), mobile operator M1, Samsung and IBM are launching 5G smart manufacturing trials in June 2020, focusing on use cases around IoT, AI, augmented reality (AR), enhanced video analytics and preventive maintenance, reports FutureIoT. The trials, part of the city-state’s new 5G Industry 4.0 programme, will benefit from a SGD40 million (USD28 million) fund to build the 5G ecosystem following recent 5G spectrum licensing, with commercial rollout planned for the end of the year. M1, IBM and Samsung will establish a 5G network framework, with IMDA aiming to share applications and findings from the trials with local enterprises and the wider manufacturing industry, as well as other participants in the 5G ecosystem. IMDA chief executive Tan Kiat How noted that manufacturing is a key sector for Singapore, contributing nearly 21% of GDP in 2019.

Xinhua reports that China launched two IoT satellites, Xingyun-2 01 and 02, from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre on 12 May, in a project overseen by the China Aerospace Science & Industry Corporation (CASIC). The low-orbit satellites will conduct tests on technologies including space-based IoT communications, inter-satellite laser communications and a low-cost commercial satellite platform. They will also carry out initial pilot IoT applications. The Xingyun project is China’s first self-developed IoT constellation, which by 2023 is expected to consist of 80 orbiters. The project is anticipated to solve problems of the IoT businesses’ communication ‘blind zones’ as a result of deficient coverage of cellular wireless networks.

Swedish LoRa-based IoT city network alliance StadshubbsAlliansen has welcomed Lund city operator Kraftringen as its latest new member. StadshubbsAlliansen was founded and is operated by LoRa Alliance member Oresundskraft. Each allied Stadshubb (City Hub) is a regional LoRaWAN network with an open and neutral wholesale business model for connectivity. The members of StadshubbAlliansen all operate municipal/regional fibre networks which serve as communication links in the City Hubs. The members are either fully or partially municipally owned.

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