Zambia hints at fifth telco operator

A fifth telco
for Zambia?

Enough room says
industry regulator.

Sunday, Feb 23rd

MTN, Huawei announce Africa's first NB-IoT solution

MTN, Huawei announce 'Africa's first NB-IoT' solution'

From South Africa, mobile network operators MTN and Vodacom have announced progress on the rollout of narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT).

MTN, together with ICT multinational Huawei, have rolled out a smart water metering solution, which they describe as 'the first NB-IoT solution in Africa'.

According to the partners the smart solution enables the automated collection of utility meter data. Through sensors installed in water meters, customers are able to detect water pipeline leakage earlier.

In a statement released by MTN, the mobile operator said the sensor array is powered by Huawei NB-IoT technology and serves as "a diagnostic spine that underpins network management."

Babak Fouladi, Group Chief Technology and Information Officer, Interim SA CTO of MTN, commented: "NB-IoT is viewed by the industry as the answer for enterprise applications in a range of different areas, from utility meters to sensor monitoring to asset-tracking. In line with our strategy to explore new enterprise markets, MTN is glad to lead the application of this new technology in Africa. Now we've succeeded in the commercial trial of smart water metering, the first NB-IoT service in Africa, and looking forward, wildlife tracking, smart farm, and smart parking etc., lots of services will be available to bring us a better connected Africa."

Jacky Chen, Managing Director of Huawei MTN Key Account Group, said: "The number of cellular IoT connections in Africa will grow seven-fold over the next three to four years, and NB-IoT will be a key driver for this trend."

Vodacom has also detailed its plans for the commercial launch of its NB-IoT network in major metropolitan areas of South Africa in 2017.

The MNO says it has already begun the process of upgrading various components of its network to support NB-IoT.

Vodacom describes NB-IoT as a Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) network technology which enables new use cases for IoT solutions.

According to the company NB-IoT runs on existing licensed spectrum which "ensures integrity of the communications channel as well as the delivery of data from the device to the end point."

Vodacom believes NB-IoT technology opens up new possibilities for cloud technology because increasing volumes of data is expected and will require additional processes and storage capacity.

Vodacom Business Chief Officer Vuyani Jarana says: "This reaffirms the link between IoT and Cloud to deliver transformational business and socio-economic outcomes. What NB-IoT means for economic growth in our country is incredibly exciting and we are going to see the digitisation of brand new ecosystems and value chains. Smart cities will no longer be a concept, but a reality when you combine the traditional Vodacom mobile and fixed line IoT connectivity stack, with the new NB-IoT offering. The economics for connecting millions of things in a city becomes viable with this new access technology."

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