China Unicom has signed an agreement with Spain’s Telefonica designed to simplify and accelerate IoT deployments for their respective enterprise customers globally.
The partnership will give the two operators access to each others' network and allow them to provide IoT products and services across several key markets through a single global SIM card.
The agreement will also consolidate their respective positions in IoT in Europe, Latin America and China, three of the most important IoT markets in the world, the companies said in a joint statement.
By using a unified IoT connectivity management platform, they will be able to control connections globally and to localize IoT SIMs once they reach a certain geography (subscription swap), the pair said.
“Simplifying massive IoT deployments is key and therefore we are strengthening our ecosystem of partners. Our partnership with China Unicom will strengthen Telefónica’s capability to meet our global customer needs,” Telefonica chief IoT officer Vicente Muñoz said.
Enterprise customers will be able to enjoy these new IoT capabilities later this year, Muñoz added.
The agreement, announced at the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, will see each company share new IoT project opportunities with their partners.
Vodafone customers will be given access to China Mobile IoT SIMs for deployments in China, while China Mobile customers wanting to offer IoT-enabled products outside of China will do so via Vodafone’s Global IoT SIM and management platform.
Vodafone will manage all elements of the operational model for its customers including on-boarding, SIM and logistics as well as billing and support. The company will act as a single point of contact for its enterprise IoT customers wanting to move into China.
China Mobile will discuss the possibility for IoT sales opportunities with Vodafone for companies wanting to expand outside of China.
Dorothy Lin, China Mobile International’s head of mobile business partnership, said the collaboration with Vodafone will allow the Chinese mobile giant to offer customers the greatest possible reach of IoT services.
“Having reached over 200 million IoT connections last year, China Mobile aims to increase the connections by 60% in 2018,” Lin noted.