NB-IoT and LTE-M deployments picking up steam

18 May 2018

A total of 48 commercial narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) and LTE-Mobile (LTE-M) had been launched worldwide as of the end of April, according to the GSMA.

Statistics from the industry body show that 13 mobile operators have deployed mobile IoT solutions, including all of China’s big three operators - China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom.

South Korea’s KT, LG Uplus, Singapore’s M1, Australia’s Telstra, Sri Lanka’s Dialog Axiata and Mobitel, Taiwan’s Far EasTone and Chunghwa Telecom, Japan’s KDDI, Thailand’s True Corp and Vodafone Group have also adopted the technology.

NB-IoT deployments are currently a lot more common than LTE-M, although some operators including Singtel and Australia’s Telstra have deployed both technologies

In a new report, the GSMA noted that NB-IoT and LTE-M technologies will be an integral part of 5G, and are expected to fulfill the 5G LPWA requirements.

The technologies will coexist with other 5G components. The 3GPP is working to allow LTE-M and NB-IoT to be placed directly in a 5G new radio frequency band, and is investigating options for the 5G core network to support LTE-M and NB-IoT radio access networks.

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