KPN in 1Mbps IoT trial using new version of 4G technology

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 added.

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 called LoRa.

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 communication."


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."



Topics: KPN, Qualcomm, Ericsson, LTE-M, IoT, M2M, LoRa