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GSMA IoT initiative aims to accelerate LPWA market

Steve Rogerson
August 26, 2015
 
Backed by mobile operators, OEMs and IoT companies, the GSMA’s Mobile IoT Initiative aims to help accelerate the LPWA market with commercial products expected next year.
 
The project is backed by 26 mobile operators and OEMs, as well as chipset, module and infrastructure companies, and is designed to address the use of low power wide area (LPWA) networks in the licensed spectrum.
 
The group will work to accelerate the commercial availability of mobile IoT technology by facilitating demonstrations, proofs of concept and trials of a selection of complementary LPWA licensed spectrum technologies. It will also provide analysis and feedback to assist 3GPP in standardising the technologies.
 
It is expected that initial specifications for LPWA products will be completed by the end of 2015, with a first implementation in early 2016 and full commercial products following later in the year.
 
LPWA networks are designed for M2M applications that have low data rates and long battery lives and operate unattended for long periods of time. It is an emerging area of the IoT and represents a huge market opportunity as the IoT scales. Analyst firms including Analysys Mason, Machina Research and Strategy Analytics anticipate that there will be 2.7 billion LPWA connections by 2022.
 
“The market opportunity for LPWA will be a significant driver in the development of the IoT and it’s essential that the mobile industry address the requirements for LPWA cases early on,” said Alex Sinclair, acting director general and chief technology officer at the GSMA. “The industry is clearly united behind the Mobile IoT Initiative, providing a common vision to accelerate the availability of industry standard solutions, removing market fragmentation and accelerating adoption.”
 
A single technology is not capable of addressing all the LPWA use cases and so the initiative will focus on three proposed complementary licensed 3GPP standards: LTE evolutions, GSM evolutions and clean slate technologies. LPWA technologies in the licensed spectrum can be deployed in a simplified and cost-effective manner, without sacrificing key customer requirements, such as battery lifetime and security.
 
Mobile operators already provide reliable end-to-end IoT platforms that allow customers to scale and manage their business requirements. They also have unrivalled global network coverage as well as technical and business support to react to a customer’s changing needs.
 
The initiative has been backed by key industry players including AT&T, Alcatel-Lucent, Bell Canada, China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Etisalat, Huawei, Gemalto, Intel, KDDI, Nokia, NTT Docomo, Ooredoo, Orange, Qualcomm, Sierra Wireless, Singtel, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, Telenor, Telstra, U-Blox and Vodafone.
 
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with more than 250 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors.