5G standards organisation settles on standards for licensed IoT

15 May 2018 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

The group setting standards for 5G mobile is about to choose two standards for low-power internet of things (IoT) and exclude others.

According to the GSMA, the mobile industry’s trade association, the latest standard – release 15 – from 3GPP will identify NB-IoT and LTE-M as official 5G mobile standards for low-power wireless access (LPWA).

The GSMA believes there will be 3.1 billion cellular IoT connections by 2025, including 1.8 million using licensed LPWA connections.

The 3GPP standards body "will not include any additional LPWA requirements in its next release, meaning that NB-IoT and LTE-M will coexist with other 3GPP technologies and fulfil long-term 5G LPWA requirements", said the GSMA.

"NB-IoT and LTE-M networks will deliver connectivity to billions of new devices and provide comprehensive IoT connectivity in the 5G era," said the GSMA.

Alex Sinclair, the GSMA’s chief technology officer, said: "Licensed NB-IoT and LTE-M networks are already delivering trusted connectivity today to millions of devices around the world, and these networks will continue to be a fundamental component of our 5G future ushering in an era of massive IoT."

Major operators backed the decision to support NB-IoT and LTE-M as preferred 5G standards for IoT.

Deutsche Telekom’s senior VP for IoT Ingo Hofacker said: "Deutsche Telekom fully supports GSMA’s statement of the integral role of Mobile IoT networks in the 5G future. Looking further, LPWA technologies such as NB-IoT have been paving the way for 5G and will be an important part of the 5G technologies."

Chris Penrose, AT&T’s president of IoT solutions, said: "LPWA networks hold the key to global deployment of IoT devices and applications that will only grow with 5G. Our investment in massive IoT in the US and Mexico marks another step forward on our path to 5G with 3GPP standardised technology and licensed spectrum."

Luke Ibbetson, group head of R&D for Vodafone and chair of the GSMA’s NB-IoT Forum, said: "We strongly believe that NB-IoT, the first 5G internet of things network, will be the foundation for a society where people and businesses are far more connected to and informed about the world around them."


Topics: IoT, internet of things, GSMA, 3GPP, LPWA, NB-IoT, LTE-M, Vodafone, AT&T