3GPP completes standardization of NB-IoT

Telecoms standardization body 3GPP has announced is has completed the standardization of the NB-IoT narrowband radio technology designed specifically for IoT use.

The formal NB-IoT specification is part of Release 13 (LTE-A Pro), and means that the technologies comprising NB-IoT, which include eMTC and EC-GSM-IoT (2G), are now frozen and any additional tweaks to the standard will need to be fully backward-compatible. You

“It took us only 9 months to standardize the new technology after the study phase,” said Dino Flore, the Chairman of 3GPP RAN. “Once again 3GPP demonstrated the ability to quickly respond to the emerging market needs.”

The GSMA global operator trade association approved. “The GSMA established the Mobile IoT Initiative with the specific purpose of aligning the mobile industry behind common and complementary LPWA technologies in licensed spectrum and we are pleased that the industry has moved so quickly to adopt them and that they have now been ratified by 3GPP,” said Alex Sinclair, CTO of the GSMA.

“Mobile operators have already started a number of pilots around the world and this agreement over common standards will help accelerate the development of commercial solutions and ensure they are in market much faster, providing customers with more choice.”

NB-IoT is one of a few low-power WAN technologies vying to become the default standard for wireless IoT connectivity. It has the advantage of being an evolution of the main wireless technologies and uses licensed spectrum. Other proprietary alternatives, including Sigfox and LoRa, have also been making progress but announcements such at this give the impression of of increasing momentum behind NB-IoT.

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