Spain’s Sateliot has claimed a ‘world first’ with the launch of a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite that complies with 3GPP’s 5G NB-IoT NTN Release 17 standard. Following the US launch via a SpaceX rocket, Sateliot claims its LEO constellation will enable 5G IoT devices to connect directly to satellites at a fraction of the current cost (reducing from ‘hundreds of dollars’ to around USD1 per device per month) and without hardware changes, allowing for massive IoT adoption even in remote locations. To achieve global 5G NB-IoT NTN coverage, the company plans to deploy five nanosatellites this year, 64 by end-2024 and 250 by end-2025.
In a similar vein, OQ Technology announced the first commercial contract for its constellation of LEO satellites to provide 5G coverage for IoT devices with an unnamed large oil and gas company, worth EUR1 million (USD1.1 million) in FY23 with the option for extension. OQ Technology has also launched ‘OQ-Secure’, a secure private network providing 5G connectivity for NB-IoT devices based on 3GPP cellular technology. OQ Technology plans to grow its constellation from three to ten satellites this year.
Nepal Telecom has agreed to provide 150,000 eSIMs to Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) for usage in smart meters, expanding an existing partnership using traditional SIMs which to date covered 53,000 smart meters.
On a larger scale, Indian network operator Bharti Airtel has agreed to provide Secure Meters with NB-IoT smart meter connectivity services for 1.3 million homes in Bihar. Airtel noted that its NB-IoT solution works via both 2G and 4G networks for real-time connectivity and uninterrupted transfer of critical data.
Oman’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has issued a permit to provide IoT services to the Electricity Holding Company (EHC) to employ technology in related services such as the installation of smart electricity meters and remote consumption reading. The TRA has also issued a directive for international roaming SIMs used in IoT devices after consulting with the telecoms sector; the directive sets out obligations for licensees and service providers as part of efforts to regulate international IoT roaming, enhance security levels and protect personal data, with one clause stipulating that international IoT roaming SIMs can be used in local Omani networks for a period not exceeding 90 days unless a provider/importer obtains an exception from the TRA.
Russian operator Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) has partnered power company Rosseti Siberia to test NIDD (Non-IP data delivery) technology on its NB-IoT network. The solution is expected to increase efficiency and safety of monitoring power supplies and consumption.
Vodafone Germany has introduced the ‘Modbus Cloud Connect’ IoT service for industrial production processes. The ‘energy saving’ solution uses plug-and-play deployment for smart applications and connects devices to a central interface, with data from production process machinery sent to the cloud via NB-IoT or LTE-M.
In New Zealand, Spark IoT and Smart Christchurch have teamed up with environmental monitoring company Adroit to install sensors along the Otakaro Avon river to monitor water quality and enable Christchurch City Council to respond more quickly to contamination events. Four solar-powered stations take water measurements every 15 minutes, uploading data to the Adroit Cloud platform via the Spark Cat-M1 network, compared to previous monthly manual sampling.
T-Mobile has been selected by Estonian autonomous robot manufacturer Clevon as its preferred provider for IoT connectivity and management in the US. The partnership will see T-Mobile provide its network and IoT solutions to power fleet operations for on-demand driverless delivery services. T-Mobile claims that the partnership will enable Clevon to reduce the time it takes to launch commercial delivery services from months to days. ‘The last-mile delivery market is expected to grow almost five times to USD57 billion in the next six years, so it’s thrilling to work with Clevon, one of the industry’s pioneers,’ said Callie Field, president of T-Mobile Business Group.
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