Telstra launches nationwide NB-IoT network for Australia
Telstra launches nationwide NB-IoT network for Australia

Telstra launches nationwide NB-IoT network for Australia

A new NB-IoT network from Telstra covers major Australian cities and towns and adds to the telco’s existing Cat-M1 network. 

Australian telco Telstra has launched its new national, narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) network, with deployments across major Australian cities and many regional towns.

According to the company, this comes in addition to around three million square kilometres of Cat-M1 IoT coverage that it switched on in 2017. Telstra claims to be the only carrier in Australia and one of the first in the world to offer both NB-IoT and Cat-M1 IoT connectivity. 

Telstra chief operations officer Robyn Denholm said that the technology would speed up IoT adoption in Australia by opening up the opportunity to connect millions of new devices sending small volumes of data at very low power levels over Telstra’s mobile network.

By contrast, the Cat-M1 network is better suited to devices on the move that send and receive a more consistent, reliable feed of information.

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Sensors, trackers and alarms

Speaking of the company’s IoT connectivity, Denholm said:  “We already offer our customers Australia’s largest and fastest mobile network and with our IoT network now we have added the ability to support millions of new devices like sensors, trackers and alarms operating at very low data rates that can sit inside machines and vehicles, reach deep inside buildings and have a battery life of years rather than hours and days.”

Telstra, she claimed, already connects more than two million IoT devices in Australia today. The company’s Smart Home platform meanwhile, supports lights, cameras and motion sensors. The NB-IoT capability, she added, has been delivered as part of Telstra’s ‘Networks for the Future’ program, a key pillar in the up to $3 billion capital investment Telstra is making.

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Device numbers to grow four-fold in five years

“We expect the new mobile network capabilities we have deployed will drive rapid growth and over the next five years we forecast we will be connecting four times more devices than we do today,” said Denholm. 

“Cat M1 is well suited to applications with data in the 100s of kilobits per second with extended range and long battery life, such as a personal health monitor or a device used to measure vehicle performance. Narrowband is better suited to applications sending even smaller amounts of data and operating with an even longer battery life, such as a moisture sensor or livestock tracking device,” said Denholm.

Telstra also announced it had entered into a Smart City partnership with the Tasmanian State Government, the Federal Government, several local Councils and the University of Tasmania to develop and trial new IoT solutions and drive the uptake of IoT in Launceston. Under the agreement an IoT lab will be established in Launceston and Telstra will support the creation of a Tasmanian agritech start-up accelerator.

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