Vodafone Australia announced it has commercially launched its NB-IoT network – purportedly the first in Australia – around Frankston on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, and at the Vodafone offices in Port Melbourne and North Sydney.
Vodafone Australia plans to extend the NB-IoT network across Melbourne’s CBD and suburbs during November, and will continue to expand the network to select areas of Sydney and Canberra during December, before rolling out to other areas of Australia next year.
Vodafone’s executive general manager of enterprise, Stuart Kelly, said Vodafone’s NB-IoT technology will open up new opportunities for machine to machine connectivity that have not previously been economically sustainable.
“NB-IoT offers customers a range of benefits including greater power efficiency, with devices able to run on batteries for ten years or more on a single charge. This means there is less need for investment in hardware and resources relating to sourcing and replacing batteries. The result is increased longevity for assets, reducing the need for site visits while devices are being used in the field.”
Based on results from tests in the Melbourne CBD, NB-IoT showed significantly greater coverage, in terms of distance and depth, compared to those offered by existing 2G, 3G and 4G technology, penetrating two to three double-brick walls, and enabling connectivity of objects in underground car parks and basements. Testing in suburban Melbourne also achieved extended coverage of up to 30 km.
To prepare for the launch of the NB-IoT network, Vodafone upgraded about half of its network sites, as well as deploying software upgrades across its radio access network and elements of the core network. Additionally, Vodafone has integrated its NB-IoT service to Vodafone’s Global IoT platform.
Vodafone is working with two new customers to begin trials of the NB-IoT network before the end of 2017: Metasphere, an international company that provides telemetry and control solutions that help businesses manage their networks and assets, and CCP Technologies, which provides a critical control point management system with a focus on the food industry.
CCP’s smart IoT sensors capture temperature and other data in controlled refrigeration environments as a foundation for delivering sophisticated business intelligence, alert notifications, compliance verification and reports.
Vodafone’s Kelly said discussions with manufacturers of NB-IoT-compatible devices indicate there is a rapidly developing IoT ecosystem in Australia.
“Australians will see a huge variety of products, services and applications enabled by NB-IoT over the coming years as more carriers, vendors, utilities and commercial organisations roll out and harness the benefits of this new way of connecting devices,” he said.