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Russian Carrier Megafon Tests Second-Gen NB-IoT Devices

Dan Jones
11/15/2019

While operators in India work to roll out NB-IoT (narrowband Internet of Things) services, and operators in the US work to get customers onto their own NB-IoT networks, Russian operator Megafon is already moving to the second generation of the NB-IoT standard.

Megafon says it has started testing NB2 (second-generation NB-IoT) devices with chipmaker MediaTek. It claims data rates of up to 130Kbit/s for the devices. NB1 (the first generation of the standard) offers typical speeds of 50Kbit/s to 100Kbit/s.

The NB2 spec was completed by the 3GPP standards group in June 2017 with its Release 14. The NB1 spec was finished in Release 13, completed in March 2016.

Why this matters
The NB2 spec is largely an incremental improvement to NB1, but supports important updates like "push-to-talk" voice commands. Voice support had previously been limited to the LTE Cat-M specification for IoT connections.

Further, for more mobile connectivity, NB2 doesn't require the device to wait until it is in idle mode to reconnect to an LTE network, unlike NB1.

According to domestic reports, research group AC&M Consulting says that Megafon supports about 8 million IoT devices all told, giving it a leading market share of 43%. This is likely to increase as from July 1, 2020, in Russia, it is recommended that all new private homes and apartments are equipped with automated electricity meters -- an ideal application for NB-IoT.

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— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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