Vodafone doubles the number of European mobile sites that support the Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) standard in an attempt to extend its lead in the Internet of Things (IoT)
The operator was the strongest supporter of NB-IoT and argued that unless a general LPWA standard (Low Power Wide Area) was adopted by the mobile industry, this Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Sigfox during the race to join IoT, would lose.
Although mobile networks have clear coverage benefits, the relatively high power consumption makes it unsuitable for devices that have to be used on one charge for several years and require only minimal bandwidth.
NB-IoT addresses these concerns and at the same time offers security levels comparable to 4G. It also uses licensed spectrum to maintain a minimum service level.
NB-IoT networks from Vodafone support up to 50,000 devices in a single cell, while devices up to ten years can be deployed on a single charge. The standard will also be an important part of 5G.
As part of this latest expansion, Vodafone's existing networks in the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Australia, the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain and Turkey will be compacted while new networks are being launched in the United Kingdom, Romania and Hungary.
Vodafone claims to have no less than 74 million IoT connections worldwide and that there is strong demand for companies for NB-IoT-powered applications.
"NB-IoT gives companies access to 5G capabilities a year before we expect large-scale consumer availability and I believe this will be a catalyst for the widespread use of IoT by companies," said Stefano Gastaut, Vodafone IoT Director.
"Our NB-IoT network strengthens our position as the premier telecom company for IoT and means that our customers can connect the next generation of devices to the world's largest and most secure international network."
The GSMA claims that there are now more than 48 mobile IoT networks (both NB-IoT and LTE-M) of 24 mobile operators, with Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom holding IoT roaming trials earlier this year.