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NTT DoCoMo quits NB-IoT

Japan's DoCoMo said it would discontinue its NB-IoT service, which likely indicates the expense of running the IoT offering was not enough to warrant the revenues the operator derived from it.

Mike Dano

March 31, 2020

1 Min Read
NTT DoCoMo quits NB-IoT

Japanese wireless giant NTT DoCoMo said it would discontinue the NB-IoT service it launched roughly a year ago.

In a brief release on its site, the operator said "we have decided to stop providing this communication system in order to concentrate management resources," according to a Google translation of the missive.

The reasons for the action remain somewhat unclear, but analysts cited by The Mobile Network speculated that NTT DoCoMo likely took the action due to the diminutive revenues available through NB-IoT services balanced against the cost of continuing to operate and upgrade the service.

Further, NB-IoT is set to be included in the 5G standard next year, which could allow DoCoMo to reinstate the offering via the 5G service it's launching.

NB-IoT is one of several flavors of cellular-based, wide-area wireless technology designed to connect Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Other cellular-based IoT technologies include LTE Cat 1 and LTE-M. Indeed, DoCoMo confirmed it would continue to offer those low-power, wide-area networking (LPWAN) technologies.

A wide range of other network operators have launched NB-IoT services, including T-Mobile and AT&T in the US.

Such offerings compete against other LPWAN services that are not based on cellular networks, such as LoRa, Sigfox, Helium and others.

Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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About the Author(s)

Mike Dano

Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading

Mike Dano is Light Reading's Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies. Mike can be reached at [email protected], @mikeddano or on LinkedIn.

Based in Denver, Mike has covered the wireless industry as a journalist for almost two decades, first at RCR Wireless News and then at FierceWireless and recalls once writing a story about the transition from black and white to color screens on cell phones.

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