Ericsson, Intel, Nokia look to widen reach of narrowband tech

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Ericsson, Intel and Nokia have launched a new project aimed at developing narrow-band LTE technology (NB-LTE), which is hoped to further the spread of IoT deployments.

NB-LTE is an optimised version of 4G technology, with advocates arguing it has low implementation costs, greater ease of use, and is more energy efficient than other forms of cellular technology.

The three companies will work on developing products that use NB-LTE. From next year, Intel will publish a roadmap of chipsets and product upgrades for slim devices.

Ericsson and Nokia will supply the required product upgrades for existing LTE networks to be NB-LTE compatible.

Stefan Wolff, Vice-President, Platform Engineering Group and General Manager of the Multi-Comms Business Unit, Intel, said: "We are excited to collaborate with two leading network vendors Ericsson and Nokia on the next wave of wireless innovation to connect the growing IoT market segment, and to further grow the momentum for Intel’s LTE portfolio and roadmap with NB-LTE."

Thomas Norén, Vice-President and Head of Product Management, Business Unit Radio, Ericsson, added: “Cellular networks already cover 90 percent of the world’s population so it makes sense to leverage this global footprint to support and drive IoT adoption through the standardization of Narrow-Band LTE."

Stephan Litjens, vice president, Portfolio Strategy & Analytics, Nokia Networks, said: “We believe in building an ecosystem around NB-LTE to speed up the take-up of the Internet of Things. This development will bring consumers benefits, such as enhanced and improved connectivity of devices and at lower cost."

One player in the ultra-narrowband space has been Sigfox, which launched an IoT network in its ninth region last week, working with T-Mobile in the Czech Republic.