Mobile operators Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone Group have successfully completed the first international roaming trial in Europe using licensed NB-IoT technology.
The service will ensure seamless coverage and service continuity for millions of connections using Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) networks. The trial was performed using global SIMs from Deutsche Telekom on Vodafone Spain’s network and global Vodafone SIMs on T-Mobile Austria’s network and commercial NB-IoT modules. The trials will also provide guidance to other operators in delivering a consistent level of implementation.
Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer, GSMA said, “The market has matured considerably in a very short time and we anticipate that this will be the year that Mobile IoT scales. Only licensed, managed mobile services can provide the secure low power connection that can meet future demand.”
Roaming is particularly important to manufacturers deploying LPWA devices on a global basis and looking to benefit from economies of scale. It is also critical for use cases such as logistics tracking, which may involve containers crossing numerous international borders on a single trip, as well as for devices that may be manufactured in one country but deployed in another, such as smart meters.
The roaming test cases were jointly developed by Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone and include important power saving features such as Power Saving Mode (PSM), Long Periodic Tracking Area Update (TAU) and various throughput and round-trip-time measurements. Underscored by the success of these trials, the industry is working to accelerate the adoption of NB-IoT roaming around the world.
Ingo Hofacker, responsible for the IoT business in the Deutsche Telekom Group said, “First commercial offers are available on a national basis already, but now, operators need to satisfy customer demand for international coverage and service continuity as well.”
Vodafone director of IoT Stefano Gastaut said, “This development shows the successful evolution of the technology and I am confident that it will lead to a raft of new applications for NB-IoT, such as the cold chain monitoring of goods across borders.”
According to GSMA Intelligence forecasts, by 2025 there will be 3.1 billion cellular IoT connections, including 1.8 billion licensed LPWA connections.