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China Telecom sets up key NB-IoT tech beachhead

By FAN FEIFEI | China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-19 08:48

A China Telecom stand at an information industry expo in Nanjing, Jiangsu province. [Photo/China Daily]

China Telecom Corp announced it has established the world's biggest coverage in the narrowband internet of things, which has a wide range of commercial applications in fields including smart parking and intelligent manufacturing.

The NB-IoT is a narrow band radio technology designed for the IoT, allowing connections between IoT devices that is faster and on a wider range. The connection is for devices requiring small amounts of data, over long periods and consumes less energy.

It also has the advantage of low cost, wide coverage and long battery life, compared with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technology.

China Telecom said on Wednesday the demand for the NB-IoT in China now accounts for more than 60 percent of the whole internet of things sector.

China Telecom said in a statement that it carried out outdoor NB-IoT tests in 12 cities in the first quarter. In March, it announced the release of the world's first commercial NB-IoT technology-based smart water project, in partnership with Shenzhen Water, marking a significant step in promoting the commercial use of the NB-IoT.

The telecom carrier said it has joined hands with Shenzhen Gas to promote its application in the gas industry.

Moreover, China's bicyle-sharing startup ofo is working with China Telecom and Huawei Technologies Co Ltd in a joint research on implementing its solutions for smart bicycle locks.

On Monday, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced it wanted to speed up the commercial use of the NB-IoT in China. The ministry said it was encouraging companies to promote the technical reform of broadband network infrastructure to facilitate its commercial use.

The ministry said the technology could be applied to the industrial internet, urban public service and management.

Other domestic telecoms operators have stepped their efforts to boost the application of the NB-IoT.

China Mobile, the country's biggest mobile operator, has started outdoor tests of the technology in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Fuzhou. It expects to commercialize it by 2018. China Unicom, meanwhile, said it aims to start commercial deployment by the end of the year and make its coverage nationwide in 2018.

"With low power consumption, low cost and massive connectivity, narrow band internet of things technology has a promising prospect in the fields of environmental monitoring, intelligent transportation and logistics management," said Xiang Ligang, a telecom expert and CEO of industry website cctime.com.

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