Vodafone, AT&T, others look to new LTE-based technology to drive Internet of Things
May 16, 2016
Vodafone's promise to roll out NB-IoT technology across multiple markets in 2017 gives a boost to the low power wide area (LPWA) technology that cellular operators around the world plan to use to compete against proprietary solutions touted by the likes of Ingenu, Sigfox and LoRa.
"NB-IoT operates in licensed spectrum and that is important to us at Vodafone because we need to deliver a high quality experience to our customers," wrote Erik Brenneis, group director, Internet of Things (IoT) at Vodafone, in a blog post. "The alternative, using unlicensed spectrum, risks disruption to the signal from other technologies trying to use the same frequencies."
Last fall, two opposing camps were pushing separate paths for the low-power and low-bandwidth IoT standards, but they ended up merging proposals into what some are calling not a compromise but a combination of the best of both worlds. There is an expectation that the 3GPP standards will be finalized in June.
"It's not a compromise but actually kind of takes the best of a couple worlds here," said Cameron Coursey, vice president of product development for AT&T's (NYSE: T) Internet of Things Solutions organization, in an interview withFierceWirelessTech. "I think the industry really sees this as a success where we brought everybody together. We actually formed something better than what either of the camps would have done on their own." What side was AT&T on? "We were really on the side of how can you deploy this technology in a cost effective way for the cellular operators," in a way that doesn't require a lot of new hardware and installation, he said.