Mobile IoT networks to be a 'core component' of 5G

The GSMA says mobile IoT networks based on NB-IoT and LTE-M standards will play a significant role in delivering the massive IoT applications promised by 5G.

Whereas 5G networks will provide the high capacity and low latency that can connect devices on an industrial scale, Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) will be essential in connecting devices that are in remote areas and require low data rates and long battery lives.

This include environmental sensors and smart utility metres.

Mobile IoT

The mobile industry body’s latest report claims that 24 mobile operators, including Deutsche Telekom, Orange and Vodafone, have launched 48 mobile IoT networks and that 3GPP will include both standards as part of 5G this June.

“While people often associate 5G with super-fast mobile broadband speeds, it will also serve a variety of use cases often with diametrically opposed requirements such as low data rates and long battery life as with the case of Mobile IoT,” commented Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer, GSMA.

“Licensed NB-IoT and LTE-M networks are already delivering trusted connectivity today to millions of devices around the world, and these networks will continue to be a fundamental component of our 5G future ushering in an era of massive IoT.”

Of course the GSMA has a vested interest. Cellular networks are just one of several competing technologies hoping to connect the Internet of Things alongside Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and proprietary systems like SIGFOX.

It predicts that by 2025 there will be 3.1 billion cellular IoT connections, including 1.8 billion on LPWAN.

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Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.