China Telecom, the third largest mobile operator in the mainland, claims it deployed the “world’s most extensive new-generation commercial” narrow-band IoT (NB-IoT) network, reported.

After 3GPP-backed NB-IoT standards were confirmed in 2016, the company deployed the low power wide area (LPWA) technology across its nationwide 4G network on the 800MHz band, with 310,000 base stations upgraded.

The operator announced plans in July 2016 to have nationwide NB-IoT coverage using the 800MHz band by the end of the first half of 2017.

China Telecom said the low frequency band makes the signal penetration stronger, the coverage wider and the network more stable.

Rival China Unicom said in August 2016 its dedicated IoT network had 565,000 base stations providing service to 31 provinces and 360 cities. The operator added 10.5 million IoT connections in H1 2016, taking its total to more than 20 million.

China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile operator, also has big NB-IoT goals, planning commercialisation this year.

Three 3GPP-licensed technologies – NB-IoT, EC-GSM-IOT and LTE-M – are claimed to cover all LPWA use cases, ensuring customer choice and driving the IoT ecosystem.

Rival proprietary technologies (using unlicensed spectrum) such as Sigfox, LoRa and Ingenu have enjoyed earlier entry to market and racked up commercial deals.