Airtel Plans NB-IoT Network in India

Bharti Airtel is the latest operator intending to build a narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) network in India.

"We will always go with what the GSMA and 3GPP bodies are talking about, and NB-IoT is one of those technologies," Sundi Raman, the head of digital products and IoT for Airtel Business, told the Economic Times in India.

Rival Reliance Jio has already started to build a narrowband LTE network in India, beginning in Mumbai in 2018. It intends to switch on the nationwide NB-IoT network in India on January 1, 2020. Vodafone India has stated its aim is to build out an NB-IoT network with partners.

Why this matters
India will be one of the largest NB-IoT markets in the world once the narrowband networks are active. The IoT market in India is expected to generate revenues of $9 billion with an installed base of 1.9 billion devices in 2020, according to a Deloitte NASSCOM report. Spending is expected to increase in transport and logistics, healthcare and agriculture, among other areas.

Between 2017 and 2019, early operator deployments of NB-IoT have grown quickly in Asia, Europe, North and South America, with 112 NB-IoT networks announced now, according to market research firm Analysys Mason.

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— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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