In the US, DISH Network has selected Ericsson to deliver radio access and core infrastructure for an NB-IoT network slated for ‘nationwide’ completion in March 2020. Ericsson completed the initial radio frequency (RF) design for DISH’s NB-IoT system earlier this year. Niklas Heuveldop, head of Ericsson North America, said: ‘DISH is in the unique position of building a greenfield network, starting with NB-IoT, with a clear path to 5G … We believe that NB-IoT holds great potential for both consumers and businesses across the US.’ Ericsson and DISH have validated NB-IoT data transmissions based on the 3GPP standards, including, for the first time in the US, extended range connections up to 100km from a base station. DISH’s network will include Ericsson Radio System NR-capable radios, whilst DISH has also installed and completed interoperability testing of the Ericsson Cloud Core network.
Polish energy group Tauron Polska Energia (Tauron Group) has teamed up with Ericsson and network operator Polkomtel (Plus) for a smart city IoT project in Wroclaw, using NB-IoT technology. The first applications to be piloted include street lighting management, smart parking and air quality monitoring. Tauron claims in a release on its website that the project is the first of its kind in Poland, adding that IoT services will utilise the group’s existing distribution infrastructure, starting before the end of this year.
Japan’s mobile market leader NTT DOCOMO documented the launch of LTE-M in its most recent quarterly results presentation, stating 1 October 2018 as the commencement date for ‘a new communication scheme for IoT services that realises communication modules at lower costs with reduced power consumption’. Back in February 2017 DOCOMO confirmed its commitment to the deployment of LTE-M, whilst more recently, in July 2018, it formed an agreement with IoT chipmaker Sequans to accelerate development of IoT devices and applications on DOCOMO’s network using the ‘Monarch’ LTE-M/NB-IoT integrated platform. Elsewhere at DOCOMO, this week Taiwan’s Far EasTone (FET) has joined the Japanese carrier’s ‘DOCOMO Asia IoT Programme’ which aims to develop the IoT ecosystem in collaboration with major Asian telecoms operators.
Vodafone Turkey is the seventh member of the UK-backed mobile group to launch the ‘V by Vodafone’ consumer IoT product range. Initially, customers can purchase a V-Kids Watch, V-Bag, V-Pet or V-Auto devices, supported by the V-Sim smartphone app.
AT&T has nearly 24 million connected cars on its network, the US giant has claimed, after adding more than two million in the third quarter of 2018, Capacity Media reported. AT&T’s global SIM provides M2M/IoT connectivity with up to 500 carriers worldwide, with cars connected in 57 countries. Looking to the near-future in connected auto, Chris Penrose, president of IoT solutions at AT&T, said: ‘We expect vehicle-to-anything (V2X) connectivity technologies will help driverless vehicles to make virtually real-time decisions based on information that goes beyond the individual sensors on board the vehicle itself. This means vehicles will be able to see around corners, in front and behind other vehicles – and at greater distances.’ AT&T is working on connected car development with 29 vehicle brands, Penrose noted, including Audi, BMW, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Nissan, Volvo and Volkswagen as well as Tesla.
Elsewhere in the AT&T group, Swedish IT and engineering company Prevas has signed a three-year agreement with the US behemoth to fast track IoT and connected services for global industries and vertical markets. Prevas’ Bjorn Andersson said: ‘Our customers look to us to help them tackle Industry 4.0 and industrial IoT. It’s a massive opportunity. Alongside AT&T, we’ll fast track our customers to success with innovative, global smart services.’ The partnership will utilise AT&T’s global SIM (connecting devices across 200-plus countries and territories) and the AT&T Control Centre for managing IoT connectivity and automation. Some of the areas targeted include smart medical devices with built-in sensors, plus smart factory solutions for safe and efficient manufacturing.
Also in the industrial world, the Netherlands’ KPN has teamed up with Shell, Huawei, ExRobotics, Accenture and ABB to test industrial 5G/IoT applications in the port of Rotterdam, with applications aimed at optimising manufacturing, industrial maintenance and safety solutions. During tests at Shell Pernis, 5G technology has been successfully tested for, among other things, preventive maintenance of approximately 160,000km of pipelines, using Ultra High Definition (UHD) cameras combined with machine learning algorithms. KPN is using 5G test frequencies in the 700MHz and 3500MHz spectrum bands plus the 2300MHz band.
Finally, Ukrainian cellco Kyivstar has indicated the start of preparations to roll out NB-IoT technology. In an interview with Liga.net, Yevgeny Krazhan, director of business development at Kyivstar’s corporate division, said that following the launch of LTE earlier this year the company is now preparing to test NB-IoT and devise a rollout plan with its twin vendor partners Huawei and ZTE. Initially two test areas in Kiev will be equipped with around six base stations supporting NB-IoT with remote IoT sensors deployed, followed by planned tests in the Odessa and Ternopil regions, where Kyivstar will work on the deployment of a network with ‘live’ sensors. Krazhan added that corporate clients/partners in the two regions have existing smart metering based on LoRaWAN connectivity, but NB-IoT will fulfil their specific demands better. He estimated that deployment should take about six months, with a preliminary target for NB-IoT services going live via around 50-100 base stations in the summer of 2019, by which time the requisite chips/modules and sensors will be available in Ukraine.
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