HomeConnectivityAirtel, Vodafone Idea to launch NB-IoT in India soon: report

Airtel, Vodafone Idea to launch NB-IoT in India soon: report

Vodafone hunting first commercial NB-IoT deal

Indian telecommunications operators Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea are currently getting ready to launch commercial NB-IoT services in the Indian market in the coming months, according to a report by The Economic Times.

The two telcos have already inked partnerships with several companies to develop a complete device and sensor ecosystem for NB-IoT technology.

According to the report, Bharti Airtel is in process of identifying nearly 20,000 sites in Karnataka and Chennai with the aim of conducting NB-IoT trials.

“We’ll be going with a pilot in a denser way rather than just a few trial sites…in a couple of months, we will be commercially rolling out,” Ajay Chitkara, CEO, Airtel Business, reportedly said.

“We have around five and a half million subscribers on our IoT side and the way growth is happening, we need to eventually get into NB-IoT.” Chitkara said.

Meanwhile, Vodafone Idea has already conducted commercial pilots in eight cities, and is currently looking to attract its first commercial NB-IoT deployment deal in the coming weeks.

“We’re looking at winning our first commercial deployments over the next six weeks. So, commercially we’re also seeing customers now, wanting to buy that. Once we contract them, we will go and deploy,” The Economic Times quoted Vodafone Idea’s chief enterprise business officer, Nick Gliddon, as saying.

The executive also said that the telco has already carried out eight pilots of NB-IoT technology in cities including Kochi, Jaipur, Bengaluru and Chennai . Some of the trials involved the deployment of smart meters, the executive said.

Vodafone Idea is also aiming to expand its NB-IoT service nationwide in the next 12 months to tap specific opportunities in smart city space along with other applications.

Rival operator Reliance Jio expects to connect at least a billion connected IoT devices to its Internet of Things (IoT) platform within the next two years, the company’s Chairman Mukesh Ambani had previously said.

Ambani said that Jio expects its nationwide NB-IoT platform to be fully commercially available in January 2020.

He also said that the company aims to connect at least 1 billion of the estimated 2 billion connected IoT devices likely to emerge in India within the next two years, according to recent press reports.

The executive also said that a total of 300 million electricity meters still need to be connected digitally for real-time monitoring and for giving consumers full visibility and control of cost and quality, “and going forward each home and business premise will have dozens of connected devices,” he added.

Reliance Jio launched a pilot to trial NB-IoT technology in the city of Mumbai in 2018. The company had previously claimed that it was the only operator in India with the capability to launch a nationwide NB-IoT network.

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