Korea turns on nationwide LPWA networks

Friday 21 Jul 2017 | All Documents |

Momentum behind the GSMA’s Mobile IoT Initiative continues to grow – South Korean mobile network operators, KT Corporation and LG Uplus have become the latest to launch commercial Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWA) based on the GSMA’s Mobile IoT Initiative. They follow in the footsteps of China Mobile, China Unicom, China Telecom, Deutsche Telekom (DT) and Vodafone who also announced the availability of commercial networks earlier this month at Mobile World Congress Shanghai. US operators, AT&T and Verizon announced earlier in the year. With the addition of the Korean operators, there are now eleven Mobile IoT network deployments by nine operators in six countries around the world.

KT Corporation have rolled out commercial Narrowband Iot (NB-IoT) coverage nationwide after originally trialling the service in Seoul and other Metropolitan areas in April. LG Uplus has also rolled out commercial NB-IoT networks nationwide in 85 cities across the country,  working predominantly with private gas and power companies at launch.

The Mobile IoT initiative has encouraged the industry to adopt licensed LPWA networks and we are now seeing this work come to fruition with multiple commercial deployments. It is currently backed by 74 global mobile operators, device makers and chipset, module and infrastructure companies worldwide. In the space of a year, the initiative has helped to establish market standards for LPWA, published by 3GPP, that will play a fundamental role in the growth, development and adoption of the technology as well as securely and cost effectively connect the billions of new devices making up the Internet of things (IoT). According to Machina Research, there will be 27 billion total connected devices by 2025, including 2 billion cellular and 3 billion LPWA connections.

Mobile operators can enhance their licensed cellular networks with NB-IoT and LTE-M technologies and support mass-market IoT applications such as smart meters, asset tracking, smart grids and city parking amongst many others, that are low cost, use low data rates, require long battery lives and often operate in remote locations. We expect to see many more operators roll-out services in the coming months.

The GSMA also has a Mobile IoT Innovators programme in place which is designed to encourage the development of new LPWA solutions. It currently has over 550 members from around the world who are developing a huge array of diverse solutions based on Mobile IoT technology such as pet trackers and smart parking amongst many others.

For further information on the GSMA Mobile IoT Initiative, please go to: https://www.gsma.com/iot/mobile-iot-initiative/.