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Commercial NB-IoT comes to Southeast Asia

Solutions and devices already available to make use of the network include those focused on the utilities, transport and logistics sectors

It is hoped the network will spur a range of new smart solutions and applications
It is hoped the network will spur a range of new smart solutions and applications

M1 has announced the launch of Southeast Asia’s first commercial nationwide NarrowBand Internet of Things (NB-IoT) network in Singapore. It is the second such network worldwide and will support Singapore’s transformation into a Smart Nation.


M1 and its partners already have available IoT solutions such as smart energy management for buildings, environmental monitoring, asset tracking and fleet management and it is hoped the network will spur the development of many more in the future.


“The launch of Southeast Asia’s first commercial nationwide NB-IoT network will accelerate our journey into a digital society,” said Karen Kooi, chief executive Officer, M1.


“The Internet of Things will open up an incredible array of fresh opportunities and innovation. We look forward to working closely with government agencies, technology partners, and customers to enable smart solutions for everything and everyone.”


“The Internet of Things is a key technology area for growth which will drive Singapore’s Digital Economy for a Smart Nation,” said Mr Tan Kiat How, chief executive, Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore.


“We are heartened that M1 has rolled out their narrowband IoT network on a nationwide basis and partnered enterprises to bring ready solutions to market and accelerate innovation to empower possibilities. We encourage companies to embrace the exciting benefits of NB-IoT as we move towards the digital future.”


One forward-looking organisation is Keppel Electric. As part of a collaboration, Keppel Electric is piloting the NB-IoT Energy Management Meter, which is expected to enable it to deploy power and water meters to its customers’ premises faster and more cost-effectively. These meters will further enable commercial, industrial and residential customers to track their energy usage.


“With the full liberalisation of the electricity market expected in 2018, the launch of M1’s NB-IoT network is a timely development for us and our customers, who will get to enjoy easy access to useful real-time consumption data at a lower cost. We also see the potential of such implementations helping consumers to manage their electricity use more prudently,” said Janice Bong, general manager, Keppel Electric.


Partners in the project include Nokia and GSMA. Only a small fraction of the billions of devices that can get connected are today – too inaccessible, too many, too expensive to be connected through traditional network technologies. To support their specialised needs, the GSMA aligned the industry behind the industrial grade low power wide area NB-IoT technology standard, which has been ratified by the 3GPP.


Advantages of NB-IoT technology include low-bandwidth, robust indoor penetration and highly efficient power usage, complemented by the benefits of utilising licensed spectrum such as data integrity, user confidentiality and security.


Global operator support for NB-IoT is strong and with increased adoption and economies of scale, the cost of NB-IoT devices is expected to fall rapidly.

“The GSMA’s Mobile IoT initiative encouraged the market to adopt licensed LPWA networks that would cover all use cases and accelerate the adoption of IoT services,” said Alex Sinclair, chief technology officer, GSMA. We are now seeing real momentum with multiple commercial launches around the world and the development of numerous innovative solutions that will benefit from LPWA’s attributes of flexibility, security and low cost. We look forward to seeing more launches in the coming months.”



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