Huawei in talks to deploy NB-IoT with top broadband providers in India
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Huawei in talks to deploy NB-IoT with top broadband providers in India

CHINESE telecom equipment maker Huawei is in talks with India’s top providers over the deployment of narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) technology.

NB-IoT, a new technology standard ratified by the 3GPP telecoms standards body, can handle a large number of connections and broad coverage while lowering power consumption – a key consideration for IoT devices that often have to be small and run on battery for extended periods.

Incorporating this new standard will only require a simple software update for the company’s 4G base stations, though Huawei declined to tell The Economic Times (ET) which Indian providers it was working with.

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“Almost 30 networks are getting commercialized on narrowband IoT globally this year, and in India this year, we will see narrowband IoT commercial services,” Huawei Telecommunications senior solutions director Radhey Shyam Sarda told ET.

The technology gets it names from the fact it needs just 200kH of bandwidth, which means it can run alongside existing cellular networks without interfering with them.

It is most suitable for devices that generate small amounts of data, rely on battery power and are designed to be left to operate in the field independently for long periods. In particular, it is expected to be deployed in smart parking and smart metering of electricity or gas.

But while the company has carried out trials in India, Sarda told ET that NB-IoT is likely to be used more broadly once 5G networks start being deployed. An official recently told reporters this could happen as early as 2018, but experts expressed skepticism, telling ET  migration to 5G is likely to be fraught with problems for India.