Korean operator KT has announced what it claims is the industry’s first eMTC (enhanced Machine Type Communications) field trial in partnership with Nokia.
The trial was conducted on KT’s LTE network using Nokia’s Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Station. The technology uses just 1.4 MHz of the 20 MHz available in that LTE band.
“This trial, a world-first, offers a solid platform to promote the widespread application of services powered by IoT technology by addressing limitations that are hampering its spread and reach,” said Chang Seok Seo, Head of KT’s Network Strategy Unit. “Together with Nokia, we will play a pivotal role in pioneering the emergence of IoT as the first-choice technology in Korea and beyond.”
Another name for eMTC is LTE-M, which is a variant of LTE included in 3GPP rel 13. It is designed to provide data rates of up to 1Mbps over licensed spectrum but at a fraction of the required device complexity required by regular LTE. At the other end of the power/performance scale is NB-IoT, which offers lower data rates coupled with even lower power consumption.
There is a wide-ranging arms race currently underway over wireless technologies for IoT, with all of them trying to offer the best combination of bandwidth, range and power consumption. The LTE variants operate over licensed spectrum which proprietary technologies such as Sigfox and LoRa use unlicensed spectrum. As we get closer to the eventual 5G standard the competing claims of this technologies are likely to get shriller.