Vodafone NZ readies the launch of NB-IoT for 2018

Natalie Bannerman
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Vodafone plans to deploy its Narrowband-IoT network in New Zealand in 2018 to prepare for an expected surge in IoT connections

Vodafone New Zealand has announced its plans to deploy Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) in early 2018. The move comes in preparation for the expected surge in demand for internet of things (IoT) connectivity in the coming years. 

“There are many IoT networks available now but we think NB-IoT is a premium technology choice that is worth waiting for. It is supported by over 40 of the world’s largest mobile operators plus many more suppliers and innovators that serve the majority of the global IoT market,” said Tony Baird, technology director at Vodafone New Zealand.

With currently 1.4 million connected devices across its 2G network in New Zealand, the introduction of NB-IoT allows Vodafone to support tens of millions more devices in the future.

Local competitor Spark New Zealand announced on the same day similar intentions, meaning that both Vodafone and Spark are set to make up two of four competing low-cost networks. It joins Thinxtra and KotahiNet which have already rolled out their dedicated IoT networks.

The news comes days after the release of the IoT Alliance report, which estimates a $2.2 billion dollar IoT market opportunity in New Zealand over the next 10 years.

Vodaphone NZ have already tested NB-IoT on its network in September 2016 with technology partner Nokia. All that’s left is to pilot the technology, with chosen transport services company EROAD, before the roll out in 2018.

Speaking on the piloting phase Steven Newman, CEO of EROAD said: “Because NB-IoT is built to a global standard, the products we develop can be optimised so they are compatible in multiple global markets. Kiwi tech companies are integral to New Zealand’s export future, and we’re really excited about what NB-IoT will mean for ours.”