NB-IoT, LTE-M spreads to 41 networks, GSMA reveals

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Cellular IoT technology is continuing to grow with new GSMA figures revealing 41 networks are using either NB-IoT or LTE-M.

In total, 23 operators have launched licensed low-power, wide area technology to date. The GSMA also revealed that there are 34 labs devoted to work on the technology and 800 organisations working within the trade body's Mobile IoT Innovators Community.

Forecasts from the GSMA predict that there will be 3.1 billion cellular IoT connections by 2025, including 1.8 billion licensed LPWA connections.

Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer, GSMA, said: “2018 is the year that Mobile IoT networks will scale. We have seen huge growth in the availability of commercial networks in licensed spectrum and anticipate seeing many more launches this year.

"This is underpinned by an expanding community of organisations developing innovative new solutions and a number of IoT Labs helping companies to test out new products and services.

“Mobile IoT networks are fast becoming the de facto global IoT solution, as only licensed, managed mobile services can provide the secure low power connection that can meet future demand.”

Earlier this week, Deutsche Telekom, one of Europe's most enthusiastic proponents of the technology, revealed it was using NB-IoT to connect wine bottles, tools and bridges. Telia is also using NB-IoT to connect postboxes across Finland in a new trial.

However, a report from Juniper Research this week claimed that operators could have trouble monetising licensed IoT technology compared to unlicensed rivals such as LoRa and Sigfox.

It claimed services revenues from the technologies could be as much as 102 percent higher than the likes of NB-IoT and LTE-M by 2022.