3GPP standardises NB-IoT technology for rollout

3GPP standardises NB-IoT technology for rollout

Telecoms body 3GPP has finalised the standardisation of Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) technology.

As a result of this, network operators and technology firms will be able to implement NB-IoT in a bid to connect devices that sport less power and have greater range.

New telecom opportunities

Narrowband is a type of cellular technology capable of enabling low-power, wide-area networking, which is also known in the industry as ‘LPWA’.

It runs off a licensed spectrum, which experts have coined as reliable and quality compared to others, and can provide connectivity in unconnected areas.

Interest is high

A number of mobile firms have expressed interest in Narrowband IoT in recent times. In April, Vodafone and Huawei launched a lab in Berkshire to test and develop products to work on it.

They’ve been exploring the potential the tech offers as well as developments like network solution verification, new application innovation, device integration and product compliance certification.

First NB-IoT devices to launch within months

While Narrowband IoT is in the early days, Huawei expects the first NB-IoT devices to launch towards the end of 2016 and at the start of 2017. These new standards will make this process easier.

Speaking in April, David Wang, president of wireless product line at Huawei, said: “With our decade-long strategic partnership with Vodafone, the creation of this lab is another important milestone in our long term relationship.

Working with Vodafone, we have accelerated standardization of the technology and carried out successful pre-commercial trials.

“This facility will be crucial in supporting the deployment of NB-IoT globally and contribute to the promotion of its ecosystem.”

In development for months

3GPP has been working on pushing the technology out over the last few months. Dino Flore, the chairman of 3GPP RAN, said: “It took us only 9 months to standardize the new technology after the study phase. Once again 3GPP demonstrated the ability to quickly respond to the emerging market needs”

Alex Sinclair, CTO of industry organisation GSMA, sees major potential in the rollout of this technology and has commended 3GPP for swiftly pushing for its adoption.

He said: “We are pleased that the industry has moved so quickly to adopt them and that they have now been ratified by 3GPP,” said Alex Sinclair, CTO of the GSMA, on Thursday.

“Mobile operators have already started a number of pilots around the world and this agreement over common standards will help accelerate the development of commercial solutions and ensure they are in market much faster, providing customers with more choice.”

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