South Korean incumbent telco KT has signed a contract with network equipment partners Samsung Electronics, Ericsson-LG and Nokia to deploy what it aims to be the world’s first nationwide narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) network by the first half of next year.
KT announced on Friday that it will work with all three vendors to upgrade its LTE network to support NB-IoT, which will not only save costs but also complete the upgrade faster, reports the Korea Times.
KT’s supply chain management strategy division Chief Procurement Officer Hahn Won-sic said in a statement that the telco plans to make “aggressive investments” to establish an ecosystem to build its nationwide NB-IoT network “to vitalize the domestic IoT industry.”
KT also said said it will upgrade LTE base stations to provide a separate frequency bandwidth dedicated to NB-IoT services, the report said:
In this way, the company does not need to build extra base stations, resulting in a reduction of costs, it said. The company will also be able to tap into some 300,000 routers that have already been set up nationwide to provide NB-IoT network services even in underground parking lots. KT added such close coverage will help IoT devices consume less energy.
KT intends to build out NB-IoT coverage to 85 cities by March next year, and expand that coverage nationwide by June, the report said.
In related news, Korean cellco LG Uplus – which forged an NB-IoT alliance with KT earlier this month – has announced it will work with Huawei Technologies to speed up the establishment of nationwide NB-IoT services. The Korea Times reports that LG Uplus and Huawei are also discussing the possibility of a network roaming system to share NB-IoT network infrastructure to minimize radio shadow areas.