Sunday, November 3, 2019

Airtel, Vodafone Idea preparing for commercial NBIoT services; expand pilots in India

NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL) are now preparing to launch commercial narrow-band IoT or NBIoT service in India in the coming months having brought various partners on board to develop an entire device and sensing element system. Both telcos square measure presently in numerous stages of pilot runs in numerous circles.

Airtel is currently reading around twenty,000 sites in Karnataka and Chennai to conduct NB-IoT trials. “We'll be going with a pilot in an exceedingly denser approach instead of simply some trial a couple of months, we will be commercially rolling out,” Ajay Chitkara, Director and CEO, Airtel Business, told ET.

Vodafone Idea Limited, on the other hand, has already conducted a commercial pilot in eight cities in India and is now hoping to win its first commercial NB-IoT deployment deal in the coming weeks.
“We're staring at winning our 1st business deployments over the ensuing six weeks. So commercially we're additionally seeing customers currently, wanting to buy that. Once we contract them will go and deploy,” Nick Gliddon, chief enterprise business officer separately told ET.

Gliddon said that all eight pilots were conducted in cities like Kochi, Jaipur, Bengaluru, and Chennai and involved smart meters. “We've run a long trial with those guys to know however the network and services work.

Airtel’s Chitkara aforesaid that the telco’s IoT services square measure already growing within the country and NB-IoT technology can facilitate it address the demand. “We have around 5 and a [*fr1] million subscribers on our IoT facet and also the approach growth is occurring, we want to eventually get into NB-IoT.”

Chitkara more that NB-IoT can supply scale as compared to ancient IoT technologies. “130 million devices got to be connected on the meter which is that the reason individuals say that you just cannot run on the present system.”

VIL too is progressing to expand its NB-IoT to pan-India level within the next twelve months to faucet specific opportunities in good town area in conjunction with different applications.
NB-IoT could be a new technology customary, designed to broaden the future of IoT connectivity, providing significantly improved and deeper network coverage for communication between machines while lowering power consumption by devices.

Both telcos square measure taking a partner-led approach building an entire system as well as sensors, devices and to bring the overall cost down for devices.

Chitkara aforesaid that building applications could be a challenge, thereby Airtel is bringing partners on board. “…another issue is with all the sensors and different things there's price|a price|a value} concerned, therefore, it is a chicken and egg story…the cost of these 2G sensors still is cheaper, therefore, we have a tendency to square measure ensuring a minimum of this whole system is build up in order that we are able to bring from some a lot of sites,” he added.

Vodafone plan has already brought over twenty-five partners on-board and is functioning towards doubling this range presently to create new use cases around the new technology. These partners square measure chiefly startups and little and medium enterprises which will usher in hardware and software package capabilities to change new NB-IoT use cases.

Rival Reliance Jio Infocomm had last year launched associate degree NB-IoT network with an advertisement network accessible in the metropolis. It is making ready to encroach upon enterprise services and will expand its IoT services consequently.

Jio recently claimed that it's the sole public-service corporation in the Asian nation to possess the aptitude and network footprint for a nationwide launch of NB-IoT services. Airtel, however, countered the claim by language that the company's pan-India 4G network is additionally able to support the technology, in conjunction with LTE-M.

Within the enterprise business, IoT is expected to be the growth area going forward, given that the consumer retail business continues to face competitive headwinds. India's IoT market size is expected to increase to $9 billion by 2020 from $1.3 billion in 2016, according to consultancy firm Deloitte.

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