LIVE FROM HUAWEI ANALYST SUMMIT 2016, SHENZHEN: Success in the NB-IoT market is “not about radio technology, it’s about an end-to-end solution”, stated Huang Yuhong, vice-chair of the NB-IoT Forum.

Discussing the path to market for the emerging low power wide area technology, she highlighted a number of key issues which need to be addressed in order to drive adoption of the technology to support operator deployments.

Ease of service provisioning was deemed important, with the need to easily authenticate and activate devices over the air. Embedded SIMs will play a role in this.

Another critical issue will be the availability of low cost, integrated modules. “We encourage the industry to develop highly integrated modules, to combine everything together, then the size and cost will be much better,” she said.

And finally, the need to create a “unified and open solution” is necessary to enable the creation of an ecosystem to create new IoT applications and services.

The executive, who is also deputy general manager at China Mobile Research Institute, noted the potential of the technology in this market: more than 10 billion connections have been forecast by 2020, with around 10 per cent of these likely to be “traditional” mobile subscriptions.

China Mobile is looking to pre-commercial NB-IoT trials this year, before moving to commercialisation in 2017.

While Huawei has been one of the prime movers for NB-IoT, the executive noted that the technology is supported by a number of other equipment vendors – including Nokia and Ericsson – and chipset makers.

They are hoping that rival proprietary low power offerings – such as Ingenu, LoRA and Sigfox – don’t make too much progress before a 3GPP-standardised NB-IoT solution is available.