GSMA touts progress of NB-IoT in China and elsewhere

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The GSMA announced that its Mobile IoT Initiative to encourage adoption of cellular-based low power wide area (LPWA) technologies like NB-IoT has borne fruit with the launch of multiple commercial rollouts by several big-name cellcos, particularly in China.

According to analyst house Gartner, China is set to be one of the leading LPWA markets, accounting for 486 million of the estimated 3.1 billion connections globally by 2025. It is also at the forefront in the global development of Mobile IoT in terms of both network launches and a record number of ecosystem developer partners.

For example, China Mobile has launched NB-IoT networks in several cities including Yingtan, and China Unicom has rolled-out NB-IoT networks in Shanghai, as well as the main urban areas in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Fuzhou, for a number of different solutions across smart parking, smart fire sensors and smart meters. China Telecom has announced the roll-out of nationwide NB-IoT networks.

Outside of China, the GSMA pointed to Vodafone – which has launched NB-IoT in Spain and the Netherlands – and DT, has launched NB-IoT in several cities in Germany and nationwide in the Netherlands. AT&T and Verizon have previously announced nationwide launches of LTE-M technology.

The GSMA has been pushing for adoption of cellular-based IoT technologies as an alternative to LPWA wireless technologies like Sigfox and LoRa. The GSMA favors NB-IoT and LTE-M because they’re standardized via the 3GPP and enable cellcos to serve LPWA IoT apps such as smart meters, environmental sensors and consumer electronics with their existing networks.

The GSMA also said that its Mobile IoT Innovators program, which is designed to encourage the development of new LPWA solutions, has reached 546 members – 215 of which are from China. Solutions being developed under the program include smart parking, pet tracking, asset tracking and smart agriculture among others.

The GSMA said it will be demonstrating how Mobile IoT technologies are supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals at the GSMA Innovation City exhibition at Mobile World Congress Shanghai this week.

The GSMA Mobile IoT Initiative is currently backed by 74 global mobile operators, device makers and chipset, module and infrastructure companies worldwide. In the space of a year it has helped to establish market standards for LPWA, published by 3GPP, that will play a fundamental role in the growth, development and adoption of the technology as well as securely and cost effectively connect the billions of new devices making up the IoT.

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