Vodafone to launch commercial NB-IoT network in Europe next year

VodafoneVodafone announced it will launch the world’s first live commercial NB-IoT networks in Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain in the first three months of 2017.

The initial rollouts will be followed by other markets during the rest of the year with full coverage of Vodafone’s global network by 2020, the company said in a statement.

NB-IoT is the newly agreed standard for an industrial grade Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) network layer that will allow millions of everyday objects to be connected to the Internet of Things (IoT). For NB-IoT rollout, Vodafone need to just upgrade its 4G base stations with a new software.

NB-IoT offers longer battery life, lower cost, extended coverage and operates in licensed spectrum meaning improved reliability for users.  Overall, NB-IoT will act as the catalyst for companies to consider connecting things that would not have been viable with existing technologies, Vodafone said.

Consumers will see a huge variety of products, services and applications enabled by NB-IoT, from water and gas meters to smoke alarms and smart car parks.

Last week, Vodafone Spain completed the world’s first test of an NB-IoT connected product on a commercial network. The network connected a parking sensor buried in a space within the Vodafone Plaza in Madrid. A smartphone app displayed that the space was occupied when a car parked in it and went back to free when the car left the space.

NB-IoT addresses key concerns like battery life and deep in-building penetration, said Vodafone’s director of Internet of Things Ivo Rook. He further said the low cost of the modules can enable a new wave of connected devices and soaring market demand.

The development of NB-IoT has been supported by over 20 of the world’s largest mobile operators, who provide communications to over 2.9 billion customers and geographically serve over 90 percent of the IoT market.

[email protected]