Mobile operator also expands networks in South Africa and Turkey.
NEWSBYTE Vodafone is to double the size of its European NB-IoT (Narrowband Internet of Things) network by the end of next year. The company said it would be doing this in response to demand from its enterprise customers.
The world’s biggest international NB-IoT network will be available in 10 European countries, including planned launches in the UK, Romania, and Hungary, said Vodafone.
NB-IoT is the low-power, wide-area technology that will provide connectivity for many smart city applications, along with connected technology deployments in other sectors, such as agriculture.
Vodafone is also set to expand its existing NB-IoT networks in South Africa and Turkey. It has also launched NB-IoT networks in the Czech Republic; Germany; Greece; Ireland; Italy; Australia; the Netherlands; and Spain.
The mobile operator manages around 74 million connections and an international network and services platform that supports a wide range of business-critical applications using NB-IoT, including those embedded in vehicles by Audi, BMW, Daimler Benz, Ford, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Porsche, SEAT, VW, and Yamaha motorbikes.
Security equivalent to 4G
“NB-IoT gives businesses access to 5G capabilities a year before we expect large-scale consumer availability, and I believe this will be a catalyst in the widespread use of IoT by enterprises,” said Vodafone IoT director, Stefano Gastaut.
“Our NB-IoT network reinforces our position as the premier telecoms company for IoT and means that our customers can connect the next generation of devices to the world’s largest and most secure international network.”
Earlier this year, Vodafone teamed up with Deutsche Telekom to test NB-IoT roaming to help speed up the development of cross-border IoT services. Deutsche Telekom used global SIMs on the Vodafone Spain network, while Vodafone deployed SIMs on the T-Mobile Austria network.
Plus: Vodafone contemplates mast sales
In related news this week, incoming Vodafone CEO, Nick Read, is reportedly considering selling tens of thousands of mobile masts in order to reduce the company’s €31 billion ($36 billion) of debt.
According to a report on the FT, Vodafone has 110,000 towers across Europe, which could be worth €12bn ($14 billion). Read made the comments at a Goldman Sachs conference in New York.
Read also said the company would shed 1,700 jobs across shared service centres in Egypt, India, and Romania during this financial year. The cuts are part of a drive to strip €8 billion in costs out of the business as more back-office functions are automated.
Additional reporting: Chris Middleton.
Internet of Business says
In related news, last week US communications giant Verizon asked customers to sign up for what it claims is the world’s first commercial 5G service, in a sign of the provider marketing battles to come.
Verizon 5G Home is set to launch in the US on 1 October – using a proprietary approach built on the millimetre-wave spectrum. Wireless customers can expect speeds of between 300Mbps and 1Gbps with no data cap, said the company.