Deutsche Telekom, Huawei claim European first with narrow band IoT trial

Deutsche Telekom partnered with Huawei to demonstrate what it said is the first field implementation of narrow band Internet of Things (IoT) technology on a commercial network in Europe.

The operator conducted a trial of the technology in its domestic market using commercial base stations supplied by Huawei that featured upgraded software to make them compatible with narrow band IoT. The partners evaluated the performance of the technology in real-world scenarios during a recent smart parking trial conducted in Bonn using a select number of users.

In a statement announcing the move, Deutsche Telekom said the technology is a major trend in the global cellular IoT market, and offers performance advantages for IoT services that require low data rates, long battery lives, and that operate unattended for long periods of time.

Deutsche Telekom CTO Bruno Jacobfeuerborn said the operator is the first in Europe and one of the first companies globally "to have enhanced our commercial network to be capable to communicate with sensors."

A key element in the trial was that it utilised global standards for cellular IoT, "not proprietary ones," Jacobfeuerborn added.

The operator said narrow band IoT technology can be deployed in licensed spectrum, which enables a wide range of IoT applications to be run. In the trial, the technology utilised 200 KHz of spectrum and generated a 20 dB coverage gain compared to existing cellular technologies.

David Wang, president of Huawei Wireless Network, said a key benefit of the technology is that it can be "deployed by software upgrade" on single RAN networks. That ability "significantly reduces network deployment costs," and provides a technology that is "favourable for smart terminals sharing small amounts of data for a long time."

Research company Berg Insight recently noted that the bulk of today's cellular IoT deployments utilise GPRS (2G) technology due to the cost advantages the technology currently offers. The company forecast that 3G will be largely overlooked in future developments, with LTE set to become the dominant technology by 2019.

For more:
- see this Deutsche Telekom announcement

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