Telecommunications and media company
, Telstra, has announced that it will launch its narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) network within weeks and enable the lower-band network beginning 2017.
Ranil Sharma, industry lead for Utilities at Telstra Global Enterprise and Services, said Telstra is currently undertaking an upgrade to enable more IoT applications across its networks, and at a lower cost.
“We’re going through a network upgrade at the moment to deliver more narrowband capability,” Sharma said. The company claims that they had broader-band capability with their mobile networks for some time and in just a week, the company will have the lower-band network enabled.
The company claims to have made investments in hardware, software and networks in the lead-up to IoT. It is also focused on infrastructure as a service, big data platforms, analytics, insights, and an IoT software platform.
Once the network is enabled, applications can be developed and edge vendors will be able to develop network interface cards and modems that can support these. As the volume increase, costs will come down.
Earlier this month, Telstra launched its first swathe of Smart Home products and pricing packages, including smart power plugs, cameras, lightbulbs, motion sensors, a door lock, and a thermostat. They pointed towards the narrowband network as the future network of choice for IoT during this event.
“We’re more attracted to the narrowband IoT spectrum with our partner Ericsson
, and that’s the beauty of the smart home platform: We will be working with connected car, sensors, trackers, narrowband etc. All of those will interact with this platform,” John Chambers, executive director of Home and Premium Services, said at the time.
Sharma added that Telstra is also addressing the security concerns tied up in connecting and collecting data from so many devices by layering the security in with the service layer.
He said that Telstra is planning to be a player across both unlicensed and licensed spectrum so as to ensure IoT as a viable revenue stream into the future. He however emphasized that licensed spectrum option would provide customers with assured quality and support.
“There’s licensed and unlicensed spectrum; in licensed, you’re basically allocated spectrum, and you build technologies and applications on … 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G, and they’re guaranteed in terms of quality of service and support, and they would be more what are considered telco branding,” Sharma explained.
In November last year, Telstra claims to have begun trialling LoRaWAN network technology, which operates across unlicensed spectrum and is backed by IBM and Cisco.