GSMA launches ‘Mobile IoT Initiative’ for LPWAN tech

According to the GSMA, LPWA networks are designed for machine-to-machine (M2M) applications featuring low data rates, long battery lives and that operate unattended for long periods of time

GSMA has established its new Mobile IoT Initiative seeking to address the use of Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) solutions in licensed spectrum.

The association states that the new group will work to accelerate the commercial availability of mobile IoT technology by facilitating demonstrations, proofs of concept and trials of a selection of complementary LPWA licensed spectrum technologies.

The project consortium will also provide analysis and feedback to assist 3GPP in standardising Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) technologies.

The GSMA’s opinion is that a single technology is not capable of addressing all of the LPWAN use cases, considering terms of bill of materials cost, bandwidth, power consumption, range of varied applications.

Members to the project will be working on developing three licensed 3GPP standards – LTE Evolutions, GSM Evolutions and Clean Slate technologies.

Mobile IoT Initiative membership

Media reports suggest that the project membership list released by the GSMA is “surprising” as well-established industry players in the Low Power Wide Area space, such as SigFox, LoRa or Weightless were not featured among the members – especially as many are involved in GSMA standards processes via the 3GPP project.

Instead, the new LPWAN Initiative’s membership reflects a different focus – the use of LPWAN technology in the licensed spectrum held by mobile network operators.

The list includes: AT&T, Alcatel-Lucent, Bell Canada, China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Etisalat, Huawei, Gemalto, Intel, KDDI, Nokia, NTT DOCOMO, Ooredoo, Orange, Qualcomm Incorporated, Sierra Wireless, Singtel, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, Telenor, Telstra, u-blox and Vodafone.

Says Alex Sinclair, acting director general and CTO of the GSMA: “The market opportunity for LPWA will be a significant driver in the deployment of the IoT and it’s essential that the mobile industry address the requirements for LPWA cases early on.

“The industry is clearly united behind the Mobile IoT Initiative, providing a common vision to accelerate the availability of industry solutions, removing market fragmentation and accelerating adoption.”