Indian operators plan NB-IoT in FY2019-20

Reliance Jio and Vodafone are deploying large scale NB-IoT deployment both for industry and enterprise sectors

Image source: Atos

Reliance Jio and Vodafone are deploying pan-India NB-IoT deployment in FY2019-20 for both industry and enterprise sectors. Jio will focus on industrial IoT (Internet of Things) and then move to enterprise IoT whereas Vodafone will start with enterprise IoT and then move to industrial IoT.

NB-IoT is a low power wide area network (LPWAN) technology developed by 3GPP and standardised as part of 3GPP Release 13 in June 2016. It’s a cellular technology related to LTE, designed specifically for LPWA applications, using licensed spectrum on a range of possible bands. It was designed to offer 20dB coverage improvement versus GSM, 12–15 years operation on a single battery charge, low device cost, and compatibility with existing cellular network infrastructure, with the same level of security as LTE.

The technology can be deployed in a variety of frequency bands using a bandwidth of only 200 kHz as a self- contained carrier. Many millions of devices are predicted to be connected via LPWA networks in the next few years.

For NB-IoT, Jio has deployed test network in Jamnagar and Mumbai which they plan to scale to other cities in FY2019-20. Reliance Jio Infocomm and Samsung Electronics has announced their continued partnership to bring LTE coverage to 99 percent of the Indian population and significantly improve network capacity across the country. Adding to the joint effort is the deployment of a nationwide cellular IoT network.

The company is ready to pave the way for a fully digital India, in which IoT will reach every corner of the country’s society and economy. The IoT network, the first of its kind in the country, will support a variety of consumer and enterprise use cases such as vehicle tracking, smart appliances, smart metering, security, surveillance and more.

The NB-IoT service not only utilizes the existing spectrum held by Jio, but is also enabled by a simple software upgrade of the already installed base stations. Further deployed is the new and dedicated Cellular IoT virtualized core. The commercial NB-IoT network successfully established by Jio and Samsung in Mumbai in February 2018 will soon impact other parts of the country with new and compelling use cases.

Likewise, Vodafone is the global leader in managed IoT with 74 million connections and an international network and services platform supporting a wide range of business critical applications. Vodafone IoT technologies are embedded within connected vehicles built by Audi, BMW, Daimler Benz, Ford, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Porsche, SEAT, VW and Yamaha motorbikes.

Vodafone’s IoT network and services also support smart meter capabilities for energy companies including Centrica, EDF and nPower and provide connectivity for consumer electronics products such as the Amazon Kindle and devices manufactured by Bosch, Panasonic, Philips Lighting and TomTom.

The company is committed to fully rolling out NB-IoT across all geographies by 2020 but in India, the company is looking at deploying large scale NB-IoT in FY2019-20. Vodafone has launched NB-IoT networks in: Czech Republic; Germany; Greece; Ireland; Italy; Australia; Netherlands; South Africa; Spain; and Turkey. The NB-IoT network will be available in 10 European countries, including planned launches in the UK, Romania and Hungary. Outside of Europe, Vodafone will also expand its existing NB-IoT networks in South Africa and Turkey.

The company has demonstrated live NB-IoT trials and customer pilots in cities and rural communities across the globe. Apart from network connectivity, the company provides professional services, testing facilities, market-leading IoT connectivity platform, a range of secure, global SIM types, and market-leading hardware both Vodafone-branded and from a wide range of partners.

Vodafone has a number of NB-IoT OpenLabs for their customers, partners and vendors to test their applications, devices and chip sets in a secure, live environment. This accelerates their time to market for NB-IoT devices and services. It also allows device manufacturers to verify that their products meet the exceptional sensitivity and battery life performance requirements of NB-IoT devices. Main OpenLab are located in UK (Newbury) and Germany (Dusseldorf). The company has also satellite sites in Italy (Milan), Romania (Bucharest), Hungary (Budapest), Egypt (Cairo) and Iceland (Reykjavik).

NB-IoT will not only increase efficiencies and productivity of the enterprises sector but also help in increased profitability.