HomeConnectivityVodacom opens NB-IoT lab in South Africa

Vodacom opens NB-IoT lab in South Africa

Through the NB-IoT lab, the telco aims to launch M2M, IoT systems in the African country

South African telecommunications operator Vodacom, owned by U.K.-based telco Vodafone, has opened a NB-IoT laboratory at its Vodaworld campus to incubate and commercialize machine-to-machine (M2M) and internet of things (IoT) systems using this technology.

Last year, the African operator had announced the initial rollout of its NB-IoT across the country. The network will be operational in major metropolitan areas across South Africa later this year, the telco said.

Narrowband-internet of things connectivity is a low power wide area (LPWA) network technology which enables new use cases for IoT solutions. LPWA networks can communicate with devices where radio penetration has not previously been possible, the telco explained.

“Vodacom’s NB-IoT lab provides a controlled test environment and framework for customers and developers to develop hardware and applications as well as test their end point devices on the NB-IoT network,” Deon Liebenberg, Managing Executive for Vodacom IoT, said. “Vodacom is investing heavily in South Africa’s NB-IoT ecosystem and we look forward to collaborating with developers and customers to realize its potential. Our ultimate goal is to nurture an ecosystem of developers, engineers and entrepreneurs for NB-IoT applications on the continent.”

Last month, Vodacom completed the launch of what it claimed to be Africa’s first live NB-IoT site, in partnership with Chinese vendor Huawei. The live site is located on the roof of Vodacom’s data center in Johannesburg. In 2016, Huawei and Vodafone announced the opening of a narrowband IoT open lab, to provide a pre-integration testing environment for application developers and device, module and chip manufacturers.

YuanTel announces new wereables based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 1200 platform

In other IoT news, Chinese MVNO YuanTel announced new wearable devices based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 1200 platform featuring support for LTE IoT Category M1 (eMTC) and NB-IoT radio technologies. These devices and services are planned to be available later this year, the Chinese company said.

YuanTel aims to offer solutions ranging from smart connected devices to E2E cloud platforms. The LTE IoT smart wearable products and reference designs based on the Snapdragon Wear platform will target smartwatches, kid and elderly watches, smart bracelets, fitness bands, pet trackers, bicycle sharing, the company said.

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