Deutsche Telekom plans to roll-out LTE-M across its European footprint in mid-2019, following successful testing across markets including Germany, Austria, Poland and the Netherlands.
The Germany-based operator, which has been rolling out its narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) network across Europe and the US this year, said in a statement the introduction of LTE-M was a natural extension to its mobile IoT strategy.
The company has been preparing for LTE-M through a prototyping initiative developed by its in-house incubator (hubraum) and ICT services arm T-Systems.
The work enabled start-ups and IoT specialist companies to prototype various LTE-M use cases in the cities of Krakow, Berlin, Reutlingen, Rotterdam or Vienna, with Deutsche Telekom’s support.
It concluded yesterday (22 November) at a summit in Vienna, with 150 start-ups and IoT specialist companies from Europe and the US taking part.
Ingo Hofacker, SVP for IoT business at Deutsche Telekom said the summit “is the highlight of our prototyping activities”, while confirming the company was concurrently working towards LTE-M network launches in several of its European markets in mid-2019.
The operator ran a similar initiative when prototyping use cases for NB-IoT.
Best of both worlds
Deutsche Telekom explained LTE-M would be able to combine the advantages of both NB-IoT and LTE technologies, “and can therefore address a different set of use cases”.
It added that LTE-M offers higher data rates in comparison with NB-IoT, as well as lower latency, SMS support and in the future, VoLTE. Indoor coverage and expected battery life are “nearly as good as that of NB-IoT”, said the company.
Backed by 3GPP standards, Deutsche Telekom said the network is already 5G- ready and will only require a software update, allowing it to “leverage investments it is making today for the 5G era”.
“LTE-M completes the IoT landscape as it offers a whole new set of possibilities where other technologies are limited,” added Hofacker.
Fellow European operator Vodafone also confirmed this year it would also launch an LTE-M network, alongside its existing NB-IoT offering.Subscribe to our daily newsletter