Vodafone Group announced the launch of a nationwide NB-IoT network in the Republic of Ireland, adding to its European rollouts in Spain and the Netherlands.
In a statement, Vodafone said it was the first operator in Ireland to launch the low-power wide-area technology – designed to interconnect millions of devices – which it said will help to transform the country into a “smart nation”.
Indeed, Vodafone’s NB-IoT rollout in Ireland had been earmarked to go live at some point this year, after the company first launched networks in Madrid and Valencia (Spain) in January.
The company then launched the technology in several other Spanish cities, along with nine cities in the Netherlands.
Media reports throughout the year suggested the launches in the Netherlands and Ireland were delayed from Vodafone’s initial targets.
Vodafone used its announcement to talk up the benefits of bringing NB-IoT to Ireland, stating the technology will be able to cover large areas, provide greater power efficiency and support a large number of devices in a single cell without congestion.
To prepare for the rollout, Vodafone added it had upgraded existing 4G base stations to provide nationwide NB-IoT coverage, which can run alongside existing 2G, 3G and 4G networks in the country.
Anne O’Leary, CEO of Vodafone Ireland, said NB-IoT will provide: “a head start to Irish businesses and consumers in their race to become truly smart and efficient, radically saving time and money”.
In a separate announcement, Vodafone UK unveiled a new tariff targeted at people aged up to 25 years old, which allows them to use select social and chat apps without eating into their data allowance.
Dubbed the Voxi SIM, users also have access to unlimited calling and texting, as well as roaming across Europe with no extra cost.
Customers will be able to use Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter and Viber without taking a hit on their data allowance. However, the operator said the apps selected may change from time to time.
The company said it will also soon be adding “passes” for zero-rated data access to video and music streaming applications.
Customers can sign up to Voxi without a contract, with three 30-day 4G tariffs on offer: £10 for 2GB of data; £15 for 5GB; and £20 for 15GB.
Vodafone’s rival 3 UK is also set to launch a new low cost mobile service, named Smarty, which offers customers discounts when they do not use their entire data allowance on a monthly basis.