Finnish operator Sonera is testing Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) technology in Helsinki, Finland. NB-IoT is a 3GPP Release 13 technology that runs on an existing operator cellular network in licensed spectrum and can support a massive number of IoT devices.
Sonera said it is specifically testing the connection of a roaming device to figure out how to maximize coverage and device support using NB-IoT. The test is using a Nokia base station operating in the 800 MHz frequency band to connect with devices in harder-to-reach locations.
One of the advantages of NB-IoT is that it enables deep indoor penetration and low power consumption. Because of this, battery life of devices can last up to 10 years. Sonera said it has so far achieved data speeds of 200 kb/s using NB-IoT technology.
Momentum is building around the NB-IoT standard. Earlier this year Deutsche Telekom said it was establishing a NB-IoT Prototyping Hub to bring its business customers together with its own IoT developers. Additionally, Vodafone, SoftBank, and Singapore’s Mobile One have all said they will commercially launch an NB-IoT networks in 2017.
In the U.S., operators Verizon and AT&T have both recently made inroads around CAT-M, which is another standardized cellular IoT technology. Verizon said it will deploy a CAT-M network by year-end, and AT&T is testing CAT-M technology in the San Francisco area.