Huawei, MTN complete first live NB-IoT trial in Africa

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MTN and Huawei have completed a commercial trial of a narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) solution for water metering.

It is the first trial of NB-IoT in Africa, the pair said. MTN said it will launch live NB-IoT water metering services in 2017, and is looking also at NB-IoT applications for wildlife tracking, farming, and parking.

The new solution provides an automatic reading of household water meters, eliminating the need for manual checks. The data gathered can also be used to control waste water flows from each property, identify faults across the water network, and improve health and safety.

The number of cellular IoT connections in Africa will grow seven-fold over the next three to four years, according to Jacky Chen, Managing Director of the MTN Account at Huawei.

"NB-IoT will be a key driver for this trend," Chen said. "We will build a robust, open ecosystem to drive NB-IoT technology innovation and commercialisation.”

Babak Fouladi, Group Chief Technology and Information Officer at MTN, added: “In line with our strategy to explore new enterprise markets, MTN is glad to lead the application of this new technology in Africa. Now we’ve succeeded in the commercial trial of smart water metering, the first NB-IoT service in Africa, lots of services will be available to bring us a better connected Africa.”

Last month, Deutsche Telekom said it had beaten rival Vodafone, instrumental in the development of the technology, to the first commercial launch of NB-IoT services anywhere in the world.