Vodafone doubling its NB-IoT footprint across Europe

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Vodafone is planning to double the number of sites supporting NB-IoT to fulfil demand from its enterprise customers.

The technology is already available in 10 markets, with forthcoming launches set for Hungary, Romania and the United Kingdom. It forms part of Vodafone's IoT network, which has 74 million connections worldwide.

The operator cited NB-IoT's quality of service, coverage reach over large areas, even within buildings or underground, power efficiency and suitability for dense networks, with a single cell able to support 50,000 devices without congestion.

Vodafone IoT Director Stefano Gastaut said: “NB-IoT gives businesses access to 5G capabilities a year before we expect large-scale consumer availability and I believe this will be a catalyst in the widespread use of IoT by enterprises.

"Our NB-IoT network reinforces our position as the premier telecoms 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.”

Vodafone said the technology was best suited for smart cities, connected healthcare and wearables, as well as agriculture.

[Read more: Vodafone at the forefront of European cellular IoT players, report finds]

Its IoT Barometer report from last year said that 55 percent of enterprises was exploring NB-IoT.

Vodafone launched its first NB-IoT network in Spain in early 2017. Since then, it has connected oil and gas networks in Romania, energy meters in Germany, and smart heating in the Czech Republic with the technology.

Gastaut told Mobile Europe and European Communications in May that operators would play a "mission critical" role in the enterprise IoT ecosystem.