HomeChipsetsNordic signs with Arkessa to offer global roaming on dual NB-IoT/LTE-M module

Nordic signs with Arkessa to offer global roaming on dual NB-IoT/LTE-M module

Nordic Semiconductor has struck a deal with Arkessa to offer wider international cellular IoT connectivity with its nRF9160 system-in-package (SiP), the Trondheim-based firm’s flagship dual-mode LTE-M and NB-IoT module.

Global roaming has remained a challenge for the broad IoT sector, with mainstream telecoms operators running NB-IoT and LTE-M infrastructure only just starting to strike deals to enable simple roaming between territories. UK-based Arkessa claims an “unrivalled multi-network capability spanning all regions of the world”, to offer “pole-to-pole coverage” via a single managed service – from a single provider in a single interface.

Its core mission and promise to IoT solution providers is to “remove the hassle” of roaming for roaming deals with individual carriers. Nordic describes Arkessa as “one of the world’s most highly regarded cellular IoT connectivity service providers”.

The Finnish outfit has spoken in these pages about the problem with global roaming, before. Last month’s editorial report on asset tracking – Asset tracking – and the march towards massive IoT – considered this issue. “There isn’t a global IoT roaming agreement in place today,” said Kristian Sæther, product manager for cellular IoT at Nordic, in the report. “Customers ship these trackers with three or four SIMs. But you can’t go around changing SIMs.”

He said: “Roaming agreements are harder to negotiate be- cause IoT devices put less data onto the network. And carriers are used to working with millions of customers, all with the same SIMs; they don’t know how to serve thousands of them, with thousands of SIMs, all with different needs. Those things remain challenges, because asset tracking is global by its nature. Those things have to be solved to gain massive scale.”

The arrangement with Arkessa means customers can put its nRF9160 SiP to work, immediately, in multiple markets, without negotiating with individual network operators for airtime coverage. Arkessa offers NB-IoT and LTE-M across all SIM form factors, from plastic SIMs in 2FF (Mini), 3FF (Micro) or 4FF (Nano) form factors to MFF2 chip SIMs (eSIMs).

The nRF9160 – more like an integrated chip than a module, according to its maker – is Nordic’s first release for the cellular IoT market, having made its name in Bluetooth chips. It has GCF certification for compliance with 3GPP LTE specifications, along with FCC and CE certifications. Nordic reckons it is easier to work with than any other cellular IoT module, as well as offering a smaller form-factor, lower-power consumption, and higher-grade security.

Sæther said: “Arkessa eliminates the need for Nordic customers to have to negotiate cellular IoT data connectivity contracts with individual national carriers and when roaming internationally. But the main thing Arkessa immediately brings to the table is its extremely comprehensive NB-IoT coverage in Europe and globally.”

Andrew Orrock, chief executive at Arkessa, said: “We understand the criticality of providing Nordic customers with a strong technical support model, coupled with ease of access to reliable, secure global connectivity to make it simple for them to deploy their connected applications anywhere in the world. We’re excited to be supporting live opportunities together already, and we look forward to continuing to enable the future success of more Nordic customers.”

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