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Telia bags a big NB-IoT gig

Internet of things , iot , smart home , smart city and network connect concept. Human hand holding white phone and iot icon with city sunset view and earth furnished by NASA. background and wifi icons

Swedish operator Telia is going to connect nearly a million smart meters using narrowband IoT technology.

The deal has been signed with technology services company One Nordic, which is going to connect approximately 900,000 electricity meters for Swedish electricity distributor Ellevio using the low power wireless protocol. This is Telia’s biggest NB-IoT deal to date but the company has been keen on the commercial potential of the technology for a while.

“NB-IoT is opening up a lot of new use cases for us,” said Björn Hansen, Head of IoT at Telia. “It provides deep indoor coverage, which is ideal for connecting utility meters underground or inside buildings. It also lets us deliver economies of scale that weren’t previously possible. We’re really pleased to be able to support One Nordic on this rollout and are excited to be part of the next generation of smart metering solutions for Ellevio”.

“ONE Nordic needed a flexible, future-proof solution that was economically competitive,” said Anders Malmberg, MD of Smart Metering at One Nordic. “When connecting meters across large geographic areas, economic considerations go far beyond the connectivity alone. Telia is able to provide a high performance fully-managed network that support us in our ambition to focus on delivering first-class services to Ellevio.”

“NB-IoT technology gives us broader and deeper coverage, which is ideal for rural and deep indoor locations,” said Johan Svensson Program Manager at Ellevio. “This allows enhanced machine-to-machine communication that fits perfectly with our smart grid development. It will also allow us to develop and deploy a wide range of new IoT devices and services for our customers in the future.”

While Europe is lagging the US and East Asia in many aspects of 5G the Nordics are doing their bit to drag us along. Telia seems to be conflating NB-IoT with 5G, as indicated by its Estonia launch late last year, while Ericsson is doing its best to further develop NB-IoT. In many ways the two technologies are independent of each other but their development and adoption seem to be happening in parallel so maybe this is an area in which Europe can claim some 5G leadership.

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