Airtel And Vodafone Idea Join Forces For Widespread Growth Of NB-IoT

  • Pilot testing has been successfully conducted across several cities in India.
  • With IoT technology set to expand in the coming years, the need for NB-IoT is highly required.

In a bid to introduce commercial NB-IoT (Narrow Band Internet of Things) service in India, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL) have collaborated to develop an entire ecosystem of devices and sensors in  the expectation of expanding the reach of IoT technology and thus bring down costs.  

NB-IoT is a LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) technology standard, which has the ability to cover IoT devices over greater distances. This is hugely beneficial in terms of low power consumption during M2M (machine-to-machine) communication.

India’s need for NB-IoT technology

Airtel has targeted approximately 20,000 sites across Karnataka and Chennai to conduct NB-IoT trials.

“We willl be going with a pilot in a denser way rather than just a few trial sites. In a couple of months, we will be commercially rolling out,” said Ajay Chitkara, Director and CEO, Airtel Business.

According to him, NB-IoT is highly required to aid the growth of IoT businesses in India. He further added, “We have around five and a half million subscribers on our IoT side and the way growth is happening, we need to eventually get into NB-IoT.”

To be deployed soon

At the same time, Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL), has successfully conducted commercial testing of NB-IoT in eight Indian cities including Kochi, Jaipur, Bengaluru and Chennai. VIL hopes that this development will help it secure a deal soon for a more widescale deployment of NB-IoT.

Nick Gliddon, chief enterprise business officer, Vodafone Idea Ltd. said, “We’re looking at winning our first commercial deployments over the next six weeks. So commercially we’re also seeing customers now, wanting to buy that. Once we contract them will go and deploy.”

Similar to the approach by Airtel, VIL too is aiming to expand NB-IoT on a wider level across India in the next 12 months. It has brought on-board over 25 partners, mainly consisting of startups and SMEs for working towards building new use cases around NB-IoT.

As per a report by Deloitte, India’s IoT market size is expected to increase to US$ 9 billion by 2020 from US$ 1.3 billion in 2016. This indicates that in the coming time, IoT technology is set for a rapid growth in India.