Ericsson and Qualcomm have demonstrated how LTE-M can be used along with VoLTE on China Unicom’s network.
The demonstrations, which were held at last week's Mobile World Congress Shanghai, showed how voice calls can be carried on cellular IoT connectivity, which in current live deployments is only able to carry data.
Operators such as Orange and Swisscom are rolling out LTE-M on their cellular networks to serve IoT deployments. Providing low power connectivity over a wide area, it is suited to applications such as smart metering and offers a higher data rate than cellular NB-IoT tech.
The China Unicom demos showed how these voice calling capabilities could be added to a fire alarm trigger panel and a GPS emergency tracking device.
Fire alarm trigger panels were configured so that a single press of a button notified first responders and stakeholders, with VoLTE allowing the person who triggered the alarm to describe the situation to emergency services.
In the GPS unit trial, the companies established an LTE-M call on China Unicom’s network using Meitrack P99 GPS tracking devices containing Qualcomm MDM9206 global multimode LTE IoT modems. Ericsson’s LTE radio access network, evolved packet core, IP multimedia subsystem and unified data management products were used in China Unicom’s network.
Chris Houghton, Head of Market Area North East Asia, Ericsson, said: “Ericsson is committed to leading the development of the IoT and creating various IoT businesses with global operator customers.”
Last week also saw US operator Verizon trial live voice calls on LTE-M using Ericsson's commercial network infrastructure and Qualcomm’s MDM9206 modem.
China Unicom, Ericsson and Qualcomm previously demonstrated a Cat-M1 call on China Unicom’s network in Beijing in February.
At Mobile World Congress in the same month, Ericsson and Qualcomm worked with US operator AT&T to carry out trials of VoLTE on IoT devices.