The Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) is tipping NB-IoT – one of several variants of 3GPP cellular standards developed for IoT and M2M applications – to become the dominant cellular technology for IoT applications, with 20 commercial networks in operation by 2020.
The GSA has published a white paper The Evolution to Narrow Band Internet of Things (available to registered users from gsa.com), saying: “NB-IoT will become one of the dominant 3GPP technologies to enable [IoT] market growth and will impact most, if not all, companies and markets over the next 10 to 15 years.”
It says a growing number of companies are actively working on IoT use cases in a range of verticals and anticipates the market to grow rapidly over the next five years based on several 3GPP technologies: enhancements for Machine Type Communications (eMTC), Narrow Band IoT (NB-IoT) and EC-GSM-IoT, which in combination with Power Saving Mode (PSM) and Extended Discontinuous Reception (e-DRX) makes GSM/EDGE markets prepared for IoT.
It notes that NB-IoT is being very actively promoted by the GSM Assocation (GSMA) which created the NB-IoT Forum in November 2015 and which now has an extensive membership: ARM, Bell Mobility, China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel Corporation, KDDI Corporation, KT Corporation, LG Electronics, MediaTek, Mobileum, Nokia, NOS, NTT DOCOMO, Oberthur Technologies, Qualcomm, Sequans Communications, Safaricom, Sierra Wireless, SK Telecom, TDC A/S, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telit, Telstra, Turk Telekom, Two Degrees Mobile, u-blox, Verizon Wireless, Vodafone and ZTE Corporation.
NB-IoT is part of 3GPP Release-13. The Release was frozen in March 2016 although the finalisation of NB-IoT has been extended due to the workload and should be completed later this month following the plenary meeting during the week of 13th June.
The white details numerous trials of NB-IoT underway around the world, suggests a number of initial use cases and provides a list of manufacturers producing NB-IoT chips, devices and modules.