GSMA, DT and Vodafone complete European NB-IoT roaming trial

04 June 2018 | Natalie Bannerman


The GSMA in partnership with Deutsche Telekom (DT) and Vodafone Group have completed the first international roaming trial in Europe using licensed narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) technology.

The new service will deliver seamless coverage and service continuity for millions of connections using Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) networks.

“The success of these trials is an important milestone in the development of a sustainable roaming environment for mobile IoT networks, showcasing their capabilities as well as ensuring consistent service across geographical boundaries,” said Alex Sinclair, chief technology officer at GSMA. “The market has matured considerably in a very short time and we anticipate that this will be the year that mobile IoT scales. Only licensed, managed mobile services can provide the secure low power connection that can meet future demand.”

The trial was carried out using global SIMs on T-Mobile Austria’s network and commercial NB-IoT modules. The trial will also form a useful case study and offer guidance to other operators by delivering a consistent level of implementation.

“Deutsche Telekom has successfully introduced and developed NB-IoT networks across most of its European footprint and we are very pleased to see the ecosystem rapidly expanding,” says Ingo Hofacker, responsible for the IoT business at Deutsche Telekom Group. “First commercial offers are available on a national basis already, but now, operators need to satisfy customer demand for international coverage and service continuity as well.”

Roaming test cases were jointly developed by DT and Vodafone, which includes features such as Power Saving Mode (PSM), Long Periodic Tracking Area Update (TAU) in additional to various other throughput and round-trip-time measurements.

Vodafone director of IoT Stefano Gastaut said, “This development shows the successful evolution of the technology and I am confident that it will lead to a raft of new applications for NB-IoT, such as the cold chain monitoring of goods across borders.”