Vodafone plans to launch world's first NB-IoT networks

telecomasia.net

Vodafone has revealed plans to launch what it expects will be the world's first live commercial narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) networks in early 2017.

The operator will launch LPWA NB-IoT networks in Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain during the first three months of the year.

Vodafone said it will be able to implement the NB-IoT rollout by way of a software upgrade to its existing 4G base stations, allowing the company to deliver nationwide coverage almost immediately in the four markets.

The operator plans to roll out the technology to additional markets later in the year, and provide full coverage of the operator's global network by 2020.

In preparation for the launch Vodafone has been conducting testing of the technology. Last week Vodafone Spain completed the first test of an NB-IoT connected product on a commercial network, by burying a parking sensor in a space within Madrid's Vodafone Plaza. A smartphone app was able to display that the space was occupied when a car was parked in it.

“The questions of battery life and deep in-building penetration have now been answered by NB-IoT,” Vodafone's director of IoT Ivo Rook said.

“The low cost of the modules means we can expect a new wave of connected devices and soaring market demand. Vodafone’s world leading expertise and experience in IoT will prove invaluable in shaping this exciting market.”

Singapore's M1 has also announced plans to deploy a commercial NB-IoT network in 2017, but did not specify the time during the year that the company plans to launch.

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