New NB-IoT Forum features all-star cast

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A new industry forum has been created to drive the adoption of narrowband IoT (NB-IoT), with Nokia, Vodafone and the GSMA amongst its members.

The Forum wants to encourage the development of low power wide area (LPWA) solutions for the NB-IoT ecosystem and will put forward its own proof-of-concept trials.

The group will also promote collaboration between industry partners in order to develop interoperable NB-IoT standards, while six new global labs will be established for service creation, interoperability testing and product compliance certification.

China Mobile, China Unicom, Ericsson, Etisalat, GTI, Intel, Huawei, LG Uplus, Qualcomm, Telecom Italia and Telefonica all feature among the member list.

Findings “will be shared with the whole industry” and membership extended to additional companies in future.

Luke Ibbetson, Vodafone Group Director of Research & Development, said the operator had already began customer trials of NB-IoT, with a commercial rollout of the technology planned for “early 2017”.

The telco intends to leverage its position as a global M2M provider by connecting its NB-IoT access layer to its M2M network.

Writing in a blog post on Vodafone’s website, he said: “An attractive aspect for industries using NB-IoT is that they can leave the connectivity provision to operators such as Vodafone rather than putting in their own, proprietary solutions. 

“NB-IoT has real momentum as a new technology which will improve connectivity for billions more devices. As the global leader in M2M technology, Vodafone will stay at the forefront of delivering NB-IoT and the benefits it will bring to both our enterprise customers and, ultimately, consumers.”

Last week, Ibbetson vocalised his frustration at the 3GPP for what he considered a drawn-out standardisation process over NB-IoT.

In October, Deutsche Telekom and Huawei held what they labelled the world’s first implementation of NB-IoT on a commercial network in Germany.