Vodafone announced on Wednesday rollout plans for its NarrowBand Internet of Things (NB IoT) network, which will start in four European countries next year.
The dedicated IoT network will go live in Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Spain in the first quarter of 2017.
Vodafone wants the NB IoT network live in all countries (where it offers wireless service) by 2020.
NarrowBand is a low-power, wide-area network (LPWAN) technology that uses licensed spectrum to provide communications over long distance.
This type of networking is useful for enterprise IoT projects, like agriculture and factories, where normal wireless service is either unavailable or expensive.
Vodafone has been one of the largest backers on NarrowBand, an evolution of Huawei’s NB-CIoT effort. 3GPP, the largest telecommunication association, standardized the technology in June.
NarrowBand vs. LoRa
NarrowBand is currently competing with LoRa, another IoT network built by Semtech. A few developments in Asia have cropped up in the past using that standard, creating fragmentation in the IoT networking industry.
“The questions of battery life and deep in-building penetration have now been answered by NB-IoT,” said Vodafone’s IoT director Ivo Rook, in a statement.
“The low cost of the modules means we can expect a new wave of connected devices and soaring market demand,” he said. “Vodafone’s world-leading expertise and experience in IoT will prove invaluable in shaping this exciting market.”
The IoT market is expected to balloon in the next few years, as more enterprise and home devices launch. Vodafone is paving the way for this surge, adding dedicated networks to even more markets.