02 December 2016
| Alan Burkitt-Gray
Netherlands operator KPN has successfully tried out a new internet of things (IoT) technology that uses its 4G network to operate at up to 1Mbps.
The first modules using the technology, called LTE-M, will
be available widely during 2017, says KPN. "By the end of 2017,
the KPN network will also support LTE-M," the company
The trial took place using Qualcomm test devices and IoT modems
over Ericsson network infrastructure.
"This is a significant milestone in the development of
machine-type communication," said Roberto Di Pietro, vice
president of business development for Qualcomm Europe.
"The MDM9206 modem is part of a family of products that have
been designed to support a new generation of LTE commercial
device capabilities with low-cost, low-power, low-bandwidth and
greater coverage for the next-generation of IoT
products’ and services, while also enhancing
battery life as compared to previous LTE generations."
KPN said that LTE-M technology is complementary to its recently
introduced long range, low power wide area network technology
KPN said: "Where LoRa focuses on IoT use cases with a battery
lifetime up to 15 years and a maximum data speed of 50kbps,
LTE-M focuses on use cases that support data speeds up to 1Mbps
and a battery lifetime of multiple years, considering frequent
KPN said it regards LTE-M as a future-proof alternative for
machine-to-machine (M2M) use cases now based on 2G and 3G. So
far the module price of a 4G M2M module has been significantly
higher than the price of a 2G or 3G module. "The introduction
of LTE-M will change this," said KPN.
"Based on these characteristics, LTE-M can be positioned
between LoRa – mainly sensor based applications
– and existing 4G M2M, such as infotainment in cars.
Typical use cases for LTE-M are payment terminals, electricity
meters and fleet management."