GSA report says NB-IoT is being invested in globally by 166 operatorsLeigh Mc Gowranon February 25, 2022 at 13:28 Silicon RepublicSilicon Republic

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The global mobile industry has shown a growing interest in low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) technology, with more operators supporting narrowband internet of things (NB-IoT) networks

A new report by the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) said that 140 operators have deployed or launched NB-IoT or the competing LTE-M network in 64 countries.

NB-IoT is designed to wirelessly connect millions of devices that have low bandwidth requirements. (LPWAN) technology has been growing in popularity in recent years for their ability to send continuous streams of data for various purposes.

GSA president Joe Barret said the market growth in NB-IoT networks has been “highly encouraging” over the past year. There are 166 operators investing in this technology, with 124 having already deployed or commercially launched a network, “illustrating the traction that these networks are gaining”.

“This momentum is also translated in the number of available devices which are now close to 750 and we are looking forward to seeing how these networks and devices will be used for a range of innovative and interesting use cases,” Barret said.

The report said many global industries such as agriculture, robotics, smart industry, smart cities and smart energy are exploring the potential of the Internet of things.

“Companies are actively working on IoT use cases involving both NB-IoT and LTE-M, and the market has seen a boost from the greater need for remote operations during the pandemic,” GSA said. “We expect the IoT market to grow rapidly over the next five years and for 3GPP technologies to gain market share as part of that.”

74 operators are actively investing in LTE-M technology according to the report, while 55 of these have deployed or commercially launched a LTE-M network. This is a decline of one operator actively investing since the last update in April 2021.

In the cellular side of LPWAN technology, NB-IoT and LTE-M have been seen as the two leading options for some time. Both have been attempting to be crowned the standard to rule them all among major companies and governments.

In 2018, Ericsson’s strategic product manager, Yasir Hussain, said he could see the two technologies overlapping, with operators having the capacity to enable both in their infrastructure.

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