Mobile IoT roaming network launches across Europe

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Deutsche Telekom has inked roaming agreements with several major European operators that will accelerate the deployment of cross-border IoT services.

Roaming is seen as an essential component for licensed mobile IoT networks, with applications such as logistics tracking needing to work in multiple territories. It’s also essential if equipment manufacturers are going to achieve economies of scale with devices like smart metres.

The agreements with Vodafone, Swisscom, and Telia will allow Deutsche Telekom customers to access Narrowband-IoT networks in 18 countries, nine of which are covered by the German operator’s own infrastructure.

IoT roaming

NB-IoT is a licensed Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) technology designed for use by mobile operators who want to capture part of the IoT connectivity market. It was argued that without an LPWA standard, the cellular industry would lose out to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Sigfox.

Deutsche Telekom has been a major supporter of the NB-IoT standard and worked with Vodafone on the first international roaming trial back in 2018.  The company argues that only mobile services on licensed spectrum will be able to satisfy the connectivity demands of IoT.

“Our customers need a sustainable roaming environment for their Mobile IoT deployments to deliver a consistent service across international borders. This allows them to benefit from economies of scale as they continue to expand their business,” says Rami Avidan, who is responsible for Deutsche Telekom’s IoT efforts.

“We are working hard to help accelerate the adoption of NB-IoT roaming in Europe and beyond. It is great to see the interoperability of our and our first partners’ networks now in place.”

Both NB-IoT and LTE-M will eventually form part of the 5G standard and the GSMA predicts that by 2025 there will be 3.1 billion cellular IoT connections, including 1.8 billion on LPWA networks.

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.