AT&T and Vodafone Business have agreed to allow access to their NB-IoT networks, which will make it much easier for customers to create massive IoT deployments across the US and Europe.
NB-IoT is an extremely important piece of the puzzle when it comes to 5G standardisation and the IoT. It will enable thousands of devices to connect at a low bandwidth, which is vitally important for the next-generation of IoT devices and the collaboration will allow the process to run smoothly.
World's largest NB-IoT footprint
This inter-carrier roaming arrangement will result in creating the largest NB-IoT footprint in the world. With NB-IoT network for AT&T in the US and the Vodafone networks in Spain, Germany, Italy, UK and the Netherlands.
NB-IoT is a low power and wide-area technology. It is designed for IoT devices that require low cost, long battery life and coverage. These technologies will continue evolving as a part of 5G roll out. NB-IoT will coexist in the same networks as other 5G components, granting it a long-term status. This huge deployment will revolutionise 5G standardisation and hopefully aid the speedy deployment to the IoT.
“Extending our collaboration with AT&T to offer NB-IoT roaming helps our customers to easily deploy their connected devices between the U.S. and Europe,” said Vinod Kumar, CEO, Vodafone Business. “We want to make technology adoption simpler for our customers to help them achieve their business outcomes and by pushing forward the standards and linking up our IoT network with AT&T’s, we’re doing just that.”
Whilst NB-IoT is widely known as a 4G technology, it will also play a vital role in a 5G system to support 5G LPWA (Low-power, wide-area wireless technology) use cases.
“For the IoT to live up to its promise, it must be global,” said Chris Penrose, Senior Vice President of Advanced Mobility and Enterprise Solutions, AT&T. “More and more of our enterprise customers are launching IoT applications across multiple countries. Working with Vodafone we can offer our customers simplified deployments to help scale their IoT plans across the U.S. and Europe.”
What does this mean for 5G?
With both carriers expanding their NB-IoT roaming footprints, it will put 5G LPWA on a similar global footprint to 4G. This is obviously vital for the roll out and adoption of 5G on IoT devices. So, what exactly will this do for 5G?
- Lower technology costs to support wider deployments
- Low power consumption, batteries will last 10 years or longer
- Wide coverage so people can connect to devices in underground spaces, buildings and rural environments
- High connection capacity so these applications can connect to large numbers of devices
The AT&T and Vodafone Business arrangement to share NB-IoT networks should make a huge difference to the deployment of 5G, and enabling thousands of devices to connect to a single cell site.