UK-based telecom group, Vodafone has made its intention to focus on Narrow Band-Internet of Things (NB-IOT) and plans to commercially launch the technology in the coming year. The company has already started to upgrade its core and radio network to prepare for the launch next year.
“Working with our partners and enterprise customers, we’ve been rigorously testing NB-IoT technology for well over a year. In Turkey and Spain we are using pre-standard NB-IoT to connect sensors in a car park that tell drivers using a smartphone application exactly where to find a parking space,” says Luke Ibbetson, Director, Vodafone Research and Development in a company blog. The company has conducted a trial on Vodafone’s Spain commercial network to connect water meters location in hard-to-reach locations.
Vodafone would be conducting a bigger field trial with Spanish water company Aguas de Valencia.
“We’ve already started the process of upgrading our core and radio network and we expect to launch services across Vodafone markets during 2017. While there is still work to do, we believe it could be one of the fastest roll outs of new technology that we’ve ever completed,” Ibbetson said.
The company would be only required to add software upgrade to support NB-IOT, which would definitely hasten the deployment. “We estimate that 85% of our base stations will be able to support NB-IoT with a straight-forward software upgrade, however, in some markets such as the Netherlands, the figure rises to 95%,” Ibbetson said.