China Mobile Shanghai teamed with Ericsson and Mobike, a popular bicycle-sharing service in Asia, to assess the ability of cellular Internet of Things (IoT) networks to improve customer service.

The companies trialled low-power Internet of Things (IoT) technology on a live network enabling push-bikes to be more accurately located and coverage to be expanded to areas where traditional networks generally can’t reach, such as underground parking lots.

Ericsson deployed the cellular IoT network, which introduced energy-saving and deep-coverage features the vendor said enable a five- to seven-fold improvement in coverage for operators.

In a statement, Ericsson said the trial marks an important step forward in the large-scale commercial deployment of cellular IoT in China.

Emerging cellular IoT technologies provide better coverage and faster response time using narrower bandwidth and fewer resources than cellular technology, Ericsson said.

Mobike VP Zhongjie Yang said cellular low-power IoT technologies including CAT-M1 and NB-IoT will enhance the user experience and solve existing problems such as providing coverage in challenging locations. “We also expect Chinese operators to complete the nationwide deployment of cellular IoT as early as possible.”

Last week China Mobile and Ericsson announced a partnership to combine efforts on IoT, as part of the operator’s ambition to serve 200 million connected devices by the end of the year. The Chinese operator will use Ericsson’s Device Connectivity Platform to improve the process of connecting devices, while also deploying services to help drive new revenue.

Ericsson’s IoT platform launched in 2008 and supports more than 1,500 industry customers through 24 operators.