Russian companies had not announced such tests before; in June 2018, NB-IoT roaming in Europe tested Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone. MTS conducted a test on the territory of Belarus with a local subsidiary, the test confirmed the possibility of uninterrupted operation and continuous maintenance of NB-IoT devices in the guest network, the company clarifies: “We have tested the technical capability and are now ready to launch international roaming NB-IoT with other operators” .
Roaming in this standard will be in demand among manufacturers of equipment for the Internet of things and logistics companies that use sensors to track cargo, they believe in MTS. In general, as expected, solutions based on NB-IoT, in addition to transport and logistics, can be in demand in public utilities, retail, medicine, monitoring systems and security management and infrastructure of the “smart city”.
The State Commission on Radio Frequencies allowed MTS, MegaFon, VimpelCom and Tele2 to launch NB-IoT networks at the end of 2017 within the framework of the already valid permits for the frequencies of GSM, LTE standards and subsequent modifications.
NB-IoT also has Vimpelcom testing projects in roaming, the company told Kommersant, noting that they receive many requests from roaming partners to conduct such tests.
MegaFon believes that testing roaming at NB-IoT is not yet necessary, as there is no broad coverage of the connection of this standard in the world. MegaFon focuses on the deployment of NB-IoT and the introduction of services based on it in Russia, the company noted, recalling that in roaming the operator already offers a tariff for inter-machine communication (M2M) and Internet of things devices.
Tele2 also has no plans to test international roaming at NB-IoT. The company noted that “one can hardly expect 100% coverage of NB-IoT in Belarus or Russia, but for logistics it is of key importance.” More pressing issues now are the tariffs of data transmission of NB-IoT in international roaming and the possibility of using 2G and 3G networks at the same tariffs where NB-IoT is not available, according to Tele2.
Now the majority of transport and logistics companies use M2M devices in GSM, 3G and LTE standards, and from a commercial point of view they do not need to switch to NB-IoT until the operators themselves give up support for the old standards, says Sergey Polovnikov, head of Content Review agency . “However, Russia today is viewed as a new Silk Road from China to Europe, so for operators the availability of a network with NB-IoT support throughout the country will be an advantage,” he believes.