China Telecom has launched what it describes as the “world’s most extensive new-generation commercial” narrow-band IoT (NB-IoT) network.
The Chinese Number Three first announced its goal of providing nationwide NB-IoT coverage in July 2016, following the confirmation of 3GPP-backed NB-IoT standards in China. The operator stated that it would deliver the service using the 800MHz band and have coverage active within H1 2017.
To that end, it has rolled out LPWA (low power wide area) technology in 31,000 of the base stations across its 4G network. By using the lower frequency 800MHz band, China Telecom claims it can provide stronger signal penetration and broader coverage, making its IoT network more reliable.
At the end of August 2016, second-placed China Unicom’s IoT network comprised of 565,000 base stations and covered 360 cities across 31 Chinese provinces. In the first half of last year, it brought its total number of IoT connections to over 20 million, picking up an additional 10.5 million connections. Meanwhile, market leader China Mobile has not begun offering a commercial IoT network but plans to this year.