Slovenia’s Agency for Communications Networks & Services (Agencija za komunikacijska omrezja in storitve, AKOS) has launched a public tender for the allocation of radio frequencies exclusively for business-critical M2M/IoT communications over dedicated networks in the 700MHz band. AKOS stresses that the frequency auction is not for ‘commercial provision of mobile communications services to end users’, adding that ‘dedicated frequencies for users of public safety, protection and rescue (PPDR) will also be allocated separately’. Licence winner(s) will be required to: ‘build a dedicated network that covers at least 75% of the territory of the Republic of Slovenia (municipalities), for users of business-critical communications or for industries such as transport, energy [and others]) which require high network reliability for operation but do not require high transmission speeds.’ The 75% coverage threshold must be achieved by end-2030, but intermediate targets also apply: network services must be launched by end-2021, and by end-2025 the 700MHz network should ‘cover at least 90% of the key locations of an individual user of dedicated network services.’ The deadline for submitting bids is 13 January 2021. AKOS plans to hold the public auction in February 2021 and allocate spectrum the following month.
The first ‘University Smart Campus’ in Bosnia-Herzegovina has been set up at the University of Mostar in cooperation with network operator HT Eronet, Ericsson Nikola Tesla and SUMIT, based on NB-IoT network technology. Tomislav Volaric, Head of the Centre for Information Technologies, University of Mostar, said: ‘Our University has the most modern technology and sensors that work over the 4G network. The system can count people, animals, free parking spaces but also monitor the behaviour of people on campus.’ About 70 sensors have been deployed around the campus initially. Students are being provided with a programming interface (API) via which they will be able to create, develop and test their own IoT solutions.
In Brazil, the regional government of Goias in partnership with network operator Claro has launched a 5G mobile network for agribusiness, in Rio Verde in southwest Goias, which will operate on a trial basis for a year, reports G1. Initially, a 5G base station is covering a radius of 8km, serving 200 to 300 square kilometres of rural land, supporting IoT/AI-based applications including 5G-connected drones and other devices used for pest control and irrigation management among other functions.
Dublin-based Cubic Telecom has expanded its global IoT software solution to Brazil by obtaining an ‘Autorizada Licence’ from the National Telecommunications Agency (Agencia Nacional de Telecomunicacoes [Anatel]) and establishing a partnership with 4G network operator TIM Brasil. Cubic’s software is embedded and installed in a vehicle, machine or device at the point of manufacture, and it now offers its blue chip customers in the automotive and agriculture industries the ability to roll out new IoT-connected solutions locally in Brazil ‘safely, securely, and compliantly’. This provides regulatory compliance certainty for manufacturers, and future-proofs solutions for the long lifecycle of the vehicle or device, Cubic noted.
Another Irish company, EchoStar Mobile is partnering Jersey Telecom (JT) to ‘bring true, hybrid satellite/cellular capability to IoT and Mobility customers across Europe and the UK’, it announced in a press release. EchoStar is combining its European S-band mobile satellite network with the JT 4G platform to offer a cellular roaming network for its new SYNERGY service suite. It added that the hybrid approach ‘brings to market a single terminal, single subscription, and a single management interface for a networking solution that uses both mobile satellite and cellular connectivity.’ Telemaco Melia, senior director commercial operations, EchoStar, said: ‘As sectors, companies and application developers continue to plan and execute their digitalisation strategies, the need for simple, highly reliable connectivity has never been more important. This partnership with JT allows us to enable the technology strategies of our customers wherever they are, without the need for complex technical deployments or the hefty price tag often associated with mobile satellite services and hybrid communication solutions.’
Russia’s MTS has launched eSIMs for IoT and M2M devices in accordance with the international GSMA standard, allowing customers to remotely load a virtual SIM card to a chip embedded in the equipment and change the subscriber profile. MTS has also announced the selection of its latest batch of 18 startups to partner it in developing IoT solutions for healthcare and industrial segments, including four startup projects to pilot healthcare solutions with the Medsi network of clinics. Previously, MTS StartUp Hub launched 72 pilots with startups, 19 of which reached the ‘scaling stage’. In another development, MTS has launched an NB-IoT network-based bicycle sharing service with Poputi in the Rostov region, with more than 1,500 bikes initially connected.
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