Special Content: Best Global Stories of Narrow Band-IoT Deployment – Part 1


NB-IoT is all about enabling widespread IoT and this is where this technology is going to play a critical role in terms of powering 5G networks.

NB-IoT is a technology designed to take IoT from niche to mainstream. A number of segments such as Critical Communications can utilize the power of NB-IoT and harness robust connectivity, while delivering more value to end customers.

5G promises even further IoT enhancements in the form of narrowband 5G, meshing, mission-critical control, not to mention the addition of network slicing for flexible use case support.

In the near-term, enhanced mobile broadband use cases will dominate early 5G interests. NB-IoT provides a foundation for future-ready IoT deployments by enterprise and telecoms, delivering scalable IoT capabilities while providing a path towards evolution to 5G-based IoT.

We are presenting some of the best global stories on NB-IoT deployments:

Network Transformation: Telia first with network upgrade to NB-IoT in Finland

Telia is the first operator in Finland to bring the Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) technology to its network.

The new technology, designed for the Internet of Things, makes it possible to easily connect a huge number of sensors directly to the mobile network in order to collect real-time data, even in challenging places.

“Many businesses across the Nordics and Baltics, large and small, are looking to IoT to drive efficiency in their operations by monitoring assets or steering production processes for example, and to innovate richer services for their customers. The upgrade in Finland, which was made to our entire network, enables the Internet of Things to reach massive scale, cost effectively, which can help smart cities and smart homes develop, and even track our pets and monitor our health. We are rolling out this upgrade across the Telia footprint, and anticipate launching commercial services in all main markets by year end,” says Björn Hansen, Head of Telia Company’s IoT business.

Smart Mailbox

One of the first users is the Finnish postal service Posti, which has cooperated with Telia in developing the world’s first smart mailbox utilizing the NB-IoT technology

“The new IoT technology is the most significant step we have taken in our network since the launch of the 4G network. Low-cost sensors can be used wherever data is to be collected, and the network is able to meet the connection needs of a huge number of sensors. This type of sharing of network capacity for different purposes is one of the features that has been expected of 5G networks,” says Telia Finland CTO Jari Collin.

Narrowband with good coverage

NB-IoT is a new network technology that uses only a small amount of network bandwidth to connect IoT devices to the network affordably and reliably. A single base station can serve thousands of highly energy-efficient devices – a simple sensor can provide measurement data for ten years with the same power source.

Good coverage guarantees that measuring and monitoring can also be carried out in areas with weaker coverage, such as a basement or underground premises.

“Adding NB-IoT in our networks across all markets means that we basically will have everything in place to enable our customers to fully utilize the best of what mobile networks have to offer on the journey towards 5G. Many customers’ use cases will develop with NB-IoT and LTE-M and some continue to evolve once 5G functionality is here,“ says Gabriela Styf Sjöman, Head of Group Networks, Telia Company.

STC Picks Ericsson to Drive LTE-A, NB-IOT Deployment in Saudi Arabia

Ericsson has been chosen by Saudi Telecom Company (STC) Group for a major nationwide expansion of its 4G network in Saudi Arabia, including the deployment of LTE Advanced and Narrow Band-Internet of Things (NB-IoT) in Radio Access Network.

The deal spearheads STC’s drive to revolutionize mobile broadband-driven data experiences for its subscribers and open up new enterprise opportunities in IoT, while laying the groundwork for evolution to 5G.

The LTE Advanced expansion, which got underway in December 2017, includes the deployment of Ericsson’s 5G-ready baseband hardware in the network. LTE Advanced will be deployed in a new 700MHz band spectrum acquired by STC. It will increase STC network throughput in 4G/LTE by up to 50 percent for smartphones.

In addition to the data-driven content access speed delivered by LTE Advanced, subscribers will benefit from extended coverage, much longer battery life, and low-cost devices enabled by the new cellular IoT technology, NB-IoT.

The digital transformation also sees STC deploying Narrow Band-IoT (NB-IoT) in RAN across its expanded network to drive and support enterprise IoT Ecosystem innovation and business opportunities. This includes Massive IoT applications for smart city purposes, such as metering, parking sensors, and connected cars.

Nasser Al Nasser, Group CEO at STC, says: “At STC, our main goal is to ensure that the country’s Saudi Vision 2030 ambitions are met. We do that by always making sure we offer our subscribers the latest innovative technologies. LTE Advanced and NB-IoT are exactly what we need to pave the way to 5G.”

Rafiah Ibrahim, Head of Market Area Middle East and Africa, Ericsson, says: “By making digital transformation real and effective for STC through 4G expansion, we will enable their customers to enjoy enriched experiences, whether that means lightning speed video and media access for subscribers, or IoT business innovation and opportunities for enterprises. Our partnership with STC shows 4G network evolution is already happening and paving the way for 5G.”

STC has already deployed multiple 4G layers across various frequencies (LTE 1800, LTE 2300, and LTE 2100).

COSMOTE Taps Ericsson to enable NB-IoT Driven Network in Greece

Ericsson has completed the deployment of the first cellular NB-IoT clusters in the COSMOTE 4G network in eleven Greek cities and hotspots, to support emerging mMTC (massive Machine Type Communications) use cases.

Ericsson upgrades part of the COSMOTE LTE network with software that supports NB-IoT technology, enabling massive IoT use cases.

In addition, Ericsson and COSMOTE aim to develop use cases and build the local ecosystem. In collaboration with local partner Fuelics, and using Ericsson IoT Accelerator Platform, the companies designed, tested and introduced a novel NB-IoT use case using COSMOTE’s commercial network for asset management – fuel tank capacity monitoring – at the Democritus University of Thrace.

George Tsonis, OTE Group Executive Director of Network Planning & Development, says: “COSMOTE, fully recognizing the potential of massive IoT technology, is the first in Greece and one of the firsts in Europe, to trial NB-IoT and evolve its network. We’re poised to evolve beyond merely providing mobile broadband connectivity, to play a leading role in the rapidly developing IoT market and create through technology and innovation a better world for all.”

George Pappas, Head of Ericsson Greece, says: “NB-IoT will accelerate the development of the IoT market in Greece and open up vast opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship in many industries, such as transport and healthcare, resulting in new services that will significantly improve quality of life.”

Built using 3GPP standards, NB-IoT enables a wide range of devices and services to be wirelessly connected using cellular telecommunications bands.

This IoT technology is relatively cost-efficient and brings many other advantages, including low power consumption, extensive coverage, massive connectivity, and a high reliability of transmission. Leveraging on existing LTE footprint, COSMOTE can deploy a wide range of new IoT use cases and services in smart cities, logistics handling, utilities and more.

Singtel Taps Ericsson to roll out Singapore’s first commercially available NB-IoT network

Singtel in partnership with Ericsson has become the first operator in Singapore to make a nationwide cellular Internet of Things (IoT) network commercially available.

This advanced mobile network technology will help accelerate the proliferation of IoT devices by offering the best coverage, power efficient and cost-effective solutions to enterprises.

Supporting CAT-M1 and NB-IoT devices, Singtel’s IoT network allows businesses to benefit from applications with low-power consumption that help prolong the devices’ battery life and provide deeper wireless coverage and multiple connections. Singtel will also harness its cyber security expertise to support enterprises in implementing secure and reliable IoT solutions.

Diomedes Kastanis, Head of IoT at Singtel, says: “IoT will play a key role in realizing Singapore’s Smart Nation Vision and we are committed to working with our partners to address the growing demand for IoT services both in the enterprise and consumer space. With our Singtel IoT Innovation Lab and our capability to quickly introduce new services, we will bring industry-leading IoT and 5G innovation to businesses and consumers. These leading-edge technologies will enable Singaporeans to seamlessly manage all their devices at the tip of their fingers.”

Singtel and Ericsson have recently signed an agreement to establish the Singtel IoT Innovation Lab to facilitate IoT deployments and the development of a local IoT ecosystem for enterprises and consumers. As more and more partners join the IoT Innovation lab, Singtel’s goal is to reduce the time to market for the introduction of new services, eliminate any technological barriers and redefine existing business models.

In addition, Singtel’s IoT network also offers a universal connected life management application that enables any device or service to interact with one another – at home, work or on the move – regardless of the service provider or technology. The open connectivity platform allows for easy and manageable data sharing among family and friends, including on-the-go tracking for safety and security.

Since 2016, Singtel has been exploring IoT usage with local companies and large corporations across a diverse range of applications, including environmental sensing, asset tracking, waste management and monitoring of medicine consumption. It has been conducting trials with several partners including bike-sharing company Mobike, smart metering solutions provider EDMI Limited and modem chip maker SIMCom Wireless Solutions. The roll out of the nationwide cellular IoT network will accelerate businesses’ adoption of such innovative technologies and help them create exciting new products and services for consumers.

Martin Wiktorin, Head of Singapore, Brunei and Philippines, Ericsson, says: “The launch of the Singtel IoT Innovation Lab will help boost the IoT ecosystem in Singapore. Ericsson is bringing its extensive ecosystem partners, comprising devices, security and applications to work on opportunities together with Singtel.”

This story first appeared inside the April issue of Disruptive Telecoms – an initiative by TelecomDrive.com