NB-IoT and LTE-M will play an “integral role” in the 5G revolution, argues a new report from the GSMA.
The technologies are generally seen as secondary to the super-fast mobile speeds anticipated for 5G connectivity, with NB-IoT (or “Narrowband IoT”) and LTE-M both defining networking categories that are essentially designed to bring more devices online but at generally lower standards of connectivity. But the GSMA’s new report, “NB-IoT and LTE-M in the 5G context”, argues that these categories will help to drive the development of “massive IoT”, referring to the broader Internet of Things of which 5G will be a central infrastructure component.
As GSMA Chief Technology Officer Alex Sinclair explains in a report summary, while 5G is of course associated chiefly with super-high-speed mobile connectivity, “it will also serve a variety of use cases often with diametrically opposed requirements such as low data rates and long battery life as with the case of Mobile IoT.” That why the kinds of licensed NB-IoT and LTE-M networks that are already taking shape today “will continue to be a fundamental component of our 5G future ushering in an era of massive IoT,” he says.
Elaborating on that note, the report summary asserts that NB-IoT and LTE-M technologies have already been used to support the launch of 48 mobile IoT networks around the world. The standards for these categories will be included in 3GPP’s forthcoming Release 15, an early set of 5G standards, which is scheduled for publication next month.