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Belgium embraces mobile IoT

Mobile IoT is expected to act as a catalyst for companies to establish connections that would not have been viable with existing technologies

The network will help to connect millions of everyday objects for Belgian citizens and businesses
The network will help to connect millions of everyday objects for Belgian citizens and businesses

Orange has announced the nationwide roll-out of Narrow Band-IoT (NB-IoT) and LTE-M, so called “mobile IoT”, technologies across Belgium.


According to the French based telecoms firm, the introduction of the low power wide area (LPWA) cellular network turns Belgium into a mobile IoT “test lab”.


Last year, Orange Belgium decided to invest in new Internet of Things (IoT) technologies based

on international standards. The NB-IoT and LTE-M cellular network layers will allow millions of everyday objects to be connected to the IoT.


LPWA technologies offer many advantages when connecting objects to the IoT, such as extending the battery life of the connected equipment by up to 10 years thanks to low energy consumption, or drastically reducing the cost of the radio modules inside the devices that need to be connected.


Orange has already embarked on several projects using the mobile IoT network including one with the Flemish government on connected bikes in collaboration with its partners Huawei and Sensinxs.


Meanwhile, IMEC is testing a smart plug project as part of Antwerp’s City of Things programme and it has also teamed up with CommuniThings for smart parking solutions.


“The choice for mobile IoT technologies is future-proof as it is fully consistent with the future evolution towards 5G,” said Gabriel Flichy, chief technology officer, Orange Belgium.


“It will then be possible to connect objects that require very high reliability, for example, for the remote control of critical devices and automation processes.”


Mobile IoT technologies bring a different approach to LPWA technologies. Apart from the extended battery life and the minimal cost of the radio modules, NB-IoT and LTE-M:

  • also enable full bi-directional communication between the object and the network allowing firmware software updates over the air
  • have the best possible mobile coverage (up to +20dB compared to 2G/4G coverage), considerably improving signal penetration inside buildings
  • can rely on a guaranteed connectivity abroad (roaming) on other operators’ Mobile IoT networks.

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