Swisscom to launch NB-IoT and LTE-M in 2018

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Swisscom will launch both NB-IoT and LTE-M on its network next year, as it plans 5G trials and upgrades to its 4G network.

The operator said it plans to carry out initial tests of the two IoT technologies by the end of 2017 before commercially launching in 2018.

The two technologies will supplement Swisscom’s existing LoRa-based IoT network. Swisscom also said it will continue to roll out the technology and aims to achieve 90 percent population coverage by the end of this year.

The operator also said speeds of 800MBps, already available to customers at the Swisscom store on Füsslistrasse in Zurich, will be extended to other locations.

The service uses Ericsson base stations which combine the 800MHz, 1800MHz, 2.1GHz and 2.6GHz bands to provide transmission capacity of over 20GBps.

The speeds will be made available at further locations in Zurich, as well as Berne, Geneva, Basel, Lausanne, Lugano, St. Gallen, Lucerne, Sion, Chur, Fribourg and 15 further shops throughout 2017.

The operator said it would carry out field trials of 5G network slicing in 2018.

2017 will also see Swisscom expand coverage of 4G+, offering speeds of up to 300MBps, from the current level of 40 percent to 67 percent of the Swiss population.

Heinz Herren, CIO and CTO Swisscom, said: “Swisscom is making targeted investment in the development of 5G to ensure we continue to provide our customers with the best mobile communications experience in Switzerland in future."

He added: “We are already the first provider in Switzerland to present 5G applications with our partner Ericsson. They establish the foundation for the further digitisation of Switzerland.”

The operator has previously announced it will phase out 2G by the end of 2020 to free up frequencies for 4G and 5G.

Other operators exploring IoT connectivity include BT, which is set to launch pilots based on NB-IoT in the near future, and Orange, which is launching a combination of LoRa and LTE-M.