NB-IoT networks deployed by 140 operators globally: GSA
GSA noted that a total of 166 operators around the world are currently actively investing in NB-IoT networks
A total of 140 operators have already deployed or launched NB-IoT or LTE-networks in 64 countries, according to a recent report by GSA.
”[The] mobile industry[‘s] commitment to the range of 3GPP-standards-based low-power wide area network technologies continues to be demonstrated by the steady rise in the number of networks supporting NB-IoT, although the number actively investing in LTE-MTC (LTE-M) networks has dropped by one since the previous update, and by the substantial growth in the number of Cat NB1, Cat NB2 and Cat M1 compliant devices,” GSA said.
GSA’s report stated that 166 operators around the world are actively investing in NB-IoT technology, of which 124 have deployed or commercially launched NB-IoT networks, 23 are planning, piloting or deploying NB-IoT networks and 19 are evaluating or trialing NB-IoT technology.
The report also revealed that 74 operators are actively investing in LTE-M technology, of which 55 have deployed or commercially launched LTE-M networks, 10 are planning to launch, piloting or deploying LTE-M networks, while 9 are trialing LTE-M technology.
GSA noted that it regards a technology as “deployed” when it has been installed in the operator’s commercial network and is intended for continued commercial use, while a network is considered to be “commercially launched” once it is available at least on a limited basis for the use of commercial customers.
In terms of IoT equipment, GSA said it has identified a significant rise in both the number and range of devices supporting 3GPP IoT standards since its previous update in April 2021.
The report showed that there are a total of 744 devices supporting either Cat M1, Cat NB1 (NB-IoT) or Cat NB2, 44% more compared to the previous update.
GSA said that 479 devices support Cat NB1, while 116 identified device models support Cat NB2, and 566 devices support Cat M1.
Major industry initiatives worldwide, in areas like connected and autonomous vehicles, connected or smart homes, agriculture, robotics, smart industry, smart cities and smart energy, are exploring the potential of the Internet of things (IoT). Companies are actively working on IoT use cases involving both NB-IoT and LTE-M, and the market has seen a boost from the greater need for remote operations during the pandemic.
“We expect the IoT market to grow rapidly over the next five years and for 3GPP technologies to gain market share as part of that,” GSA said. “IoT infrastructure, chipsets, modules and devices are now available from a range of companies: large and small, well-established and start-ups. The increasing size of the 3GPP ecosystem will further drive commercialization and economies of scale in IoT, with mobile operators, infrastructure suppliers, chipset and module manufacturers, device companies and development and testing houses supporting new services.”