The fight for IoT standard supremacy is well underway, and mobile carriers are no stranger to the game. One of the biggest international carriers, Vodafone, favors a solution developed mainly by Huawei. Called Narrowband IoT, the standard falls on the LTE-powered side of things. It's a low-power, wide-area standard that can reach large numbers of devices with fairly little latency, and not use all that much energy in doing so. It uses spectrum licensed to Vodafone and existing networks built upon it as a backbone, making it a cheap, easily deployed standard. On Wednesday, Vodafone let slip that the IoT technology would be hitting four new European countries in the first quarter of 2017. Those countries are Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Spain.
Back in April, Vodafone announced that they would be partnering with Huawei to build an Open Lab for Narrowband IoT, and the tech saw an official trial phase in September. Now finally ready for primetime, Vodafone's sub-brand of Narrowband IoT will be coming to customers' doorsteps in the four aforementioned countries fairly soon. According to Vodafone, their plans are a bit more grand than that; they want to eventually deploy Narrowband IoT that covers all of their customers in all of the countries where they provide service. This means, essentially, that they want to have all of their service countries throughout the world completely covered with Narrowband IoT. The tentative timeline for this goal is 2020. With the IoT industry projected to explode in the next few years, Vodafone wants to be ahead of the game as consumer and business use cases for IoT increase.
While other standards are used commonly elsewhere, Vodafone is confident that Narrowband IoT's advantages will eventually make it one of the bigger standards for IoT, if not the de facto worldwide standard. One of the main competitors is LoRa, built by Semtech. Narrowband IoT reportedly blows LoRa out of the water in both battery life and building penetration, making it ideal for use cases where a typical cellular connection may not reach a given area, such as multi-building enterprise outfits, which tend to end up being signal deadzones.