Major telcos form NB IoT Forum to push Narrow Band Internet of Things

Some of the biggest players in the mobile telecoms are to collaborate to nurture the growth of Narrow Band Internet of Things (NB-IoT) technology.

A preparatory event in Hon Kong on November 6th was chaired by Vodafone and attended by China Mobile, China Unicom, Ericsson, Etisalat, the GSMA, GTI, Huawei, Intel, LG Uplus, Nokia, Qualcomm, Telecom Italia and Telefonica. The meeting was organised in order to lay the foundations for a new industry forum to harmonise the development of NB-IoT technology and get it to market as quickly as possible.

The forum members collectively see NB-IoT as the best option for creating of Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) networks using licensed operator spectrum. In order to reach its full potential, providing deep coverage of hard to reach places, the operators recognise that they need to harmonise the various incarnations of the technology. The forum will be an attempt to bring coherence across its various modes of action, such as in-band, guard band and stand-alone mode, and across the diversity of low throughput, ultra-low cost devices and network architectures.

According to a statement following the first meeting, the NB-IoT forum aims to organise demonstrations to prove the concepts behind the technology. The members of the forum say they will build a strong end-to-end industry chain for NB-IoT future growth and development, and promote the development of NB-IoT applications for vertical markets. By promoting collaboration between all NB-IoT industry partners, the Forum aims to ensure interoperability of all system within this niche, said the statement.

China Mobile, Etisalat, LG Uplus, Shanghai Unicom, Telecom Italia and Vodafone have also announced support for the creation of six new NB-IoT open labs worldwide. These will focus on creating new services, industry development, interoperability tests and product compliance. These labs are expected to the foundation on which all cross party collaboration is maintained and customer pilots using pre-NB-IoT technology are already underway.

Pre-commercial deployment is expected during the second half of 2016, with commercial roll-out from early in 2017.

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