Building 5G: NB-IoT

Peter Jarich
Peter Jarich – VP, Consumer Services and Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • NB-IoT is often invoked in discussions of next-generation wireless network evolutions as part of “paving the way to 5G.”
  • While there is no way to interpret NB-IoT as a 5G technology, it provides a “bridge” to the massive IoT capabilities that 5G promise, giving operators insight into IoT opportunities and tool to address many of them.

Our blog post from late October highlighted a fundamental MEC dynamic: while MEC is fundamental to 5G, it’s not strictly a 5G concept.  It can be deployed well before 5G becomes a commercial reality.

This same dynamic is at play with NB-IoT.  It’s here today, but expected to be critical to 5G in the future.

An evolution of LTE, nobody considers NB-IoT a 5G technology.  And yet that doesn’t stop NB-IoT from getting routinely called out as part of the “race” to 5G or “paving the way” to 5G.  At the same time, the move to accelerate NB-IoT commercialization started in 2015 with demos from Ericsson, Nokia and Intel at MWC this year.  Just last month, then, we saw Vodafone announce plans for commercial NB-IoT networks in Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain to be launched in Q1 2017.  Not to be bested, T-Mobile Netherlands almost simultaneously revealed that they would have NB-IoT up and running in major cities before October came to an end. Continue reading “Building 5G: NB-IoT”