Vodafone launches NB-IoT pilot programme in Czech Republic

News

Vodafone has used its NB-IoT network in the Czech Republic to launch a new smart heating pilot as it opened up a new testing package for companies to start using the connectivity.

The operator worked with energy company Veolia Energie ČR to install 1,000 smart meters in Prague and Ostrava.

By connecting to NB-IoT, the meters supply the utility’s control team with information about the heating network, allowing them to solve and prevent issues.

The meters run on batteries that will last throughout the four-year test with little to no maintenance, according to Vodafone.

The news came as the operator launched a new initiative which allows Czech companies to test their sensors and data collection equipment on the Vodafone network.

Users pay a flat fee of €100 and receive 20 SIM cards with six months of connection to the platform via their own dedicated radio frequency. They also receive technical support and use of the Vodafone IoT portal.

Marcel Vrátný, Technology Director of Veolia Energie ČR, said: “Over the past few months, we tested several other technologies in addition to Vodafone’s NB-IoT. The key factor for us was signal quality inside of buildings and in underground spaces because our meters are typically installed in this type of area.

“Incorporating IoT technologies into our network control systems will drive service improvement and increase the efficiency of energy distribution and consumption.”

Vodafone announced last month it was installing an NB-IoT network in Germany as it looks to win new enterprise customers. The operator will upgrade around 90 percent of its LTE base stations to support the technology over the next six months.

In December, Vodafone conducted Romania's first national trial of NB-IoT, working with oil and gas provider OMV Petrom to connect wells without access to GSM coverage or fixed line internet.