Vodafone's first commercial implementation of NB-IoT is up and running in the Spanish cities of Valencia and Madrid with launches to follow in Barcelona, Bilbao, Málaga and Seville by the end of March.
Last year the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) released its NB-IoT standard and less than seven months later Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) has embarked on a nationwide roll out in Spain of its low-power, wide area (LPWA) networks, according to a Monday morning blog by Santiago Tenorio, head of Network Strategy and Architecture at Vodafone.
While NB-IoT is a relative newcomer when compared to other technologies, such as LoRa and Sigfox, it does have several advantages. Since NB-IoT leverages a licensed spectrum it can tap into existing 4G equipment while also providing added security for IoT programs. NB-IoT offers a long-range mobile connection with low power consumption that makes it ideal for devices such as utility meters, parking meters and smoke alarms.
Tenorio wrote in his blog that NB-IoT could increase signal coverage area by up to seven times when compared to existing GSM technology.
All told, there will be over 1,000 mobile sites supporting NB-IoT in the Spanish cities with each site capable of connecting more than 100,000 devices. Vodafone's NB-IoT services in Spain were launched on its existing 800MHz spectrum.
"To launch NB-IoT we just needed to update the software in existing base stations," Tenorio wrote in his blog. "In Valencia that took just a few hours, which was really fast when you consider that it can take up to a year to add a new 3G or 4G mobile site to a mobile network."
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