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IoT Time: Internet of Things digest

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2 Feb 2023

Serbia’s Telekom Srbija is deploying an NB-IoT network alongside its existing LoRaWAN network, aiming to launch a ‘carrier-grade nationwide multi-technology IoT public network’ to serve more clients in industrial segments, energy providers, cities and municipalities, retail sectors and facilities operators. Belgrade-based system integrator Teri Engineering is supporting the NB-IoT upgrade on Telekom Srbija’s LTE network, while France’s Actility is providing its ThingPark Wireless service management platform to integrate the running of the NB-IoT (licensed cellular) and LoRa (unlicensed spectrum) IoT networks. Telekom is initially targeting NB-IoT at use cases including utility metering and Smart City applications. The telco has operated a LoRa network since 2018.

Vodafone Italia has claimed a ‘European first’ by enabling VoLTE calls on a commercial LTE-M IoT network. The Italian operator launched its national LTE-M network in mid-2022, complementary to its existing NB-IoT network, with voice support being one of the additional features supported by LTE-M.

Maltese network operator GO has announced the activation of NB-IoT services across all its mobile networks including 5G, claiming ‘the widest IoT portfolio in Malta’. Head of GO Business, Arthur Azzopardi, said in a launch statement: ‘True to our purpose of driving a digital Malta, we invested even further in our IoT platform to bring NB-IoT to our business customers. In doing so, we are offering a full portfolio of connectivity services and creating opportunities for further efficiency across multiple channels. IoT technology continues to transform the way we live and work. This technology also allows us to continue assisting our enterprise clients in their digitalisation journey, enabling them to launch different IoT solutions in various areas such as energy, smart city, marine, and agriculture.’

Another Maltese telco, Melita has acquired the Netmore M2M division of Swedish IoT provider Netmore Group for a total price of EUR4.35 million (USD4.74 million) in a deal completed on 26 January 2023. Melita paid an initial cash price of EUR1.75 million, with an additional amount up to EUR2.60 million subject to target achievement. The Melita group’s international brand,, offers IoT connectivity across Europe.

In the same week, Netmore Group continued the expansion of its European LoRaWAN network footprint with the commencement of a LoRaWAN infrastructure rollout in France. The company said that commercial market development has already started to establish LoRaWAN collaborations with important strategic partners in France, with the rollout itself to begin within Q1 2023. Netmore will offer LoRaWAN coverage on demand for large-scale projects in utility and IoT, following a market establishment strategy which it says has been successfully proven in Sweden, Denmark, the UK, the Netherlands and Spain. The group identifies smart water metering as a particular IoT market driver in France.

Underlining Netmore’s comments regarding France, IoT specialist UnaBiz, which acquired Sigfox and its ‘0G’ IoT network last year, has inked a ten-year partnership with French utility company Sogedo, the country’s fourth largest water distribution operator. Sogedo has utilised Sigfox-based IoT sensors since 2016, but going forward will deploy more residential water meters, consumption sensors, pressure sensors, and condition monitoring sensors, all based on Sigfox connectivity.

Dutch quadruple-play network operator KPN activated its ten millionth IoT/M2M SIM card in January 2023, maintaining a clear market-leading position in the sector, it confirmed to local news outlet Telecompaper. TeleGeography notes that KPN reported 8.7 million M2M SIMs on its network at end-2021, up from 7.5 million at end-2020, while the most recent figures from telecoms regulator the Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (Autoriteit Consument & Markt, ACM) put the national market total at 14.49 million M2M SIMs at end-September 2022, up from 14.05 million three months earlier and 13.48 million at end-March (previous years’ figures are non-comparable due to ACM restating).

The European Defence Fund (EDF) is co-funding a new project, 5G COMPAD – 5G Communications for Peacekeeping and Defence, in collaboration with European 5G vendors, telcos, defence system integrators, other tech companies and research institutes. The project, involving mobile network operators from eleven EU member states plus Norway, aims to provide European defence forces with efficient and resilient multi-dimensional communication systems, with improved functionality and life cycle cost advantages over existing systems. The 5G COMPAD consortium members include: Telenor, Latvijas Mobilais Telefons (LMT), Ericsson, Nokia, Saab, Rheinmetall, Bittium, Thales, Leonardo, Inster, Eightbells, Intracom Defence, CAFA Tech, SINTEF, FFI (NO Gov), AIT, Synkzone, BHE and APR Technologies. Additionally, the 5G COMPAD project is supported by ten European governments and defence ministries.

ST Engineering iDirect has delivered its flagship IoT solution to Argentinian satellite operator ARSAT, which provides wholesale connectivity to bridge the digital divide between towns and cities nationwide. ARSAT identified the requirement for satellite-based IoT services that enable businesses and organisations in remote areas to take advantage of sensor technology and Big Data management developments. Target applications include fleet tracking solutions and farming efficiency programmes. Guillermo Rus, Vice President, ARSAT, said: ‘This new technology adds value to our fleet of geostationary satellites … Among the use cases under evaluation are a hydrometeorological monitoring network, connectivity for research ships, marine buoys, and a monitoring system for the road network.’

Oman’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has issued a permit for North Star Company to provide IoT services. The twelve-month (renewable) licence is only the second of its type issued by the TRA since it introduced the IoT concession category via regulations finalised in May 2022. The first licence was awarded to Artificial Excellence Technologies last year.

Russian state-backed national fixed network operator Rostelecom and VTB Group have formed a joint venture named Infra-Telecom to focus on projects for regional development of digital infrastructure, such as video surveillance systems, transport monitoring, energy efficiency, safe cities and other projects expected to be worth around RUB35 billion (USD500 million) in 2023-25. It is proposed that funding will be via public-private partnerships. Rostelecom’s mobile subsidiary Tele2 Russia meanwhile announced the launch of a new line of internet/data options for corporate ‘M2M System’ service clients, with the ‘M2M New Platform’ tariff plans offering ‘favourable’ per-MB prices including nationwide usage.

Ukraine’s largest mobile network operator Kyivstar announced that from 27 January the service advantages of its ‘Roaming Like At Home’ international roaming facilities became available to Kyivstar business clients who use its ‘IoT Mini’, ‘IoT Baza’ and ‘IoT Pro’ tariff offers for IoT/M2M connected devices. The monthly volume of services of these tariffs will include an additional 25MB of internet data for roaming in 27 countries, valid for both existing customers and new connections.

Turk Telekom has expanded its ‘New Generation Cities’ project to 14 Turkish cities with the addition of the latest location, Osmaniye. The telco provides end-to-end digital solutions to municipalities in the areas of ‘smart environment’, ‘smart transportation’, ‘smart life’, ‘smart economy’, ‘smart society’ and ‘smart management’. Via its solutions in the field of smart city planning, Telekom claims it has played an active role in saving approximately 35% of drivers’ time spent in traffic, 30% in fuel consumption and 25% carbon dioxide emissions.

Slovenian fixed and mobile operator T-2 has launched its ‘Smart Cities 4.0’ project after receiving co-financing from the European Union. The project is aimed at comprehensive digital transformation and involves a development consortium with Solviks and Flycom Technologies. T-2 says the consortium will ‘create an open innovation environment with the aim of developing the next generation of the T-2 smart cities platform for the digital transformation of city services and interaction with citizens.’ The platform will be designed to integrate technologies including AI, process automation, IoT, big data and XR technology into a platform for connecting smart cities and communities.

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