Home Business Telecommunications Vodafone launches commercial NB-IoT services in Melbourne CBD

Vodafone launches commercial NB-IoT services in Melbourne CBD

Vodafone Australia is set to commence the next stage of deployment of its commercial narrowband Internet of Things network, making it the first Australian telco to launch such a service.

NB-IoT is a low-power wide area network technology and can wirelessly connect millions of devices that need low bandwidth.

The Vodafone network has been launched close to Frankston on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, and at the company's offices in Port Melbourne and North Sydney.

Plans are afoot to extent the network across the Melbourne central business district and the city's suburbs in November.

In December, the NB-IoT network will be expanded to Sydney and Canberra before it is extended to other parts of the country.

Vodafone’s executive general manager of Enterprise, Stuart Kelly, claimed Vodafone’s NB-IoT technology would open up new opportunities for machine-to-machine connectivity that have not previously been economically sustainable.

“NB-IoT offers customers a range of benefits including greater power efficiency, with devices able to run on batteries for 10 years or more on a single charge," he said.

"This means there is less need for investment in hardware and resources relating to sourcing and replacing batteries. The result is increased longevity for assets, reducing the need for site visits while devices are being used in the field.”

The company claims that during trials in Melbourne's CBD, NB-IoT showed much greater coverage, in both distance and depth, compared to those offered by existing 2G, 3G or 4G technology, "penetrating two to three double-brick walls, and enabling connectivity of objects in underground car parks and basements. Testing in suburban Melbourne also achieved extended coverage of up to 30 kms".

Vodafone claims the main advantages of NB-IoT technology are:Vodafone claims the main advantages of NB-IoT technology are:

  • Extended coverage over large areas, even when devices are underground or deep within buildings;
  • Greater power efficiency, so devices can run on batteries for 10 years or more on a single charge;
  • Ability to support a huge number of devices in a single cell;
  • Lower cost communications hardware, enabling user devices to be built for less than the current cost;
  • Vodafone NB-IoT operates in fully licensed spectrum which guarantees quality of service; and 
  • NB-IoT technology is 3GPP-based technology which has strong security features of mobile networks that is key for IoT communications.

The telco is working with two new customers to begin trials of the NB-IoT network before the end of 2017: Metasphere Australia and CCP Technologies. The former provides telemetry and control solutions to manage networks and assets. CCP has a critical control point management system with a focus on the food industry.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.