GSMA: first European NB-IoT roaming trial completed
Written by: Sam Fenwick | Published:

The GSMA announced on 30 May that mobile operators Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone Group have successfully completed the first international roaming trial in Europe using licensed NB-IoT technology.

The trial was performed using global SIMs from Deutsche Telekom on Vodafone Spain’s network and global Vodafone SIMs on T-Mobile Austria’s network and commercial NB-IoT modules. The trials will also provide guidance to other operators in delivering a consistent level of implementation.

“The success of these trials is an important milestone in the development of a sustainable roaming environment for Mobile IoT networks, showcasing their capabilities as well as ensuring consistent service across geographical boundaries,” said Alex Sinclair, the GSMA’s CTO. “The market has matured considerably in a very short time and we anticipate that this will be the year that Mobile IoT scales. Only licensed, managed mobile services can provide the secure low power connection that can meet future demand.”

The GSMA states that roaming is particularly important to manufacturers deploying low power wide area (LPWA) devices on a global basis and seeking to benefit from economies of scale. It is also critical for use cases such as logistics tracking, which may involve containers crossing numerous international borders on a single trip, as well as for devices that may be manufactured in one country but deployed in another, such as smart meters. The roaming test cases were jointly developed by Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone and include important power saving features such as Power Saving Mode (PSM), Long Periodic Tracking Area Update (TAU) and various throughput and round-trip-time measurements.

“Deutsche Telekom has successfully introduced and developed NB-IoT networks across most of its European footprint and we are very pleased to see the ecosystem rapidly expanding,” says Ingo Hofacker, responsible for the IoT business in the Deutsche Telekom Group. “First commercial offers are available on a national basis already, but now, operators need to satisfy customer demand for international coverage and service continuity as well.”

Vodafone director of IoT Stefano Gastaut said, “This development shows the successful evolution of the technology and I am confident that it will lead to a raft of new applications for NB-IoT, such as the cold chain monitoring of goods across borders.


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