MTN Gets Ericsson, Qualcomm into IOT Deal

South Africa’s second biggest mobile operator, MTN, is stepping up its Internet of things (IOT) game.
This after the telco roped in Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson and US-based Qualcomm Technologies to complete a lab trial for a Cat-M1 solution with MTN South Africa, in support of MTN’s IOT ambitions.
The parties said this is the first Cat-M1 test implementation of its kind on the African continent and represents the first stage of a wider scope of test activity.
The Cat-M1 trial uses IOT devices integrated with a Qualcomm MDM9206 global multimode LTE IOT modem and the Ericsson Massive IOT Radio Access Network product.
MTN said the successful test will prepare it for a new wave of solutions that can be implemented in future. MTN SA will continue trialling devices and applications for Cat-M1 in its Test Bed lab.
Cellular IOT technologies, such as Cat-M1 and their evolution into 5G, set a solid foundation for massive IOT by reducing complexity, lowering power consumption, expanding coverage and increasing device density
Cat-M1 enables advanced IOT applications by providing hundreds of kilobits per second in throughput, mobility and VOLTE support.
Examples of typical Cat-M1 IOT applications include smartwatches or fitness bands with integrated voice communications services, pet tracking devices, point of sale terminals, vending machines and vehicle tracking with emergency calling support.
“Cat-M1 provides key advantages of low-cost devices, long battery life, extended coverage and supports a wide range of use cases,” says Giovanni Chiarelli, chief technology and information officer at MTN SA.
“The successful trial, in conjunction with Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies, proves that both companies have the ability to support new IOT services and technologies for MTN. The initial use of this technology has been for tracking and reporting use cases that have benefited both consumer and business customers. At MTN, we are providing the platform for these and future applications to enhance people’s lives.”
“Today, the majority of telco IOT revenue comes from machine-to-machine connectivity, but in the next five years, this will change to revenue from platforms, applications and services,” says Rafiah Ibrahim, president, Ericsson Middle East and Africa. “This trial ensures MTN South Africa will capture new revenue streams and deliver the best experience to its customers.”
James Munn, VP of business development at Qualcomm SA, says: “This trial supports the first wave of IOT use cases requiring extended coverage and battery life, compared to today’s baseline 2G/GSM and LTE.
“Our MDM9206 global multimode LTE IOT modem, designed to support LTE Cat M1, NB-1 and E-GPRS and global RF bands, brings many enhancements and optimisations to LTE that can help reduce IOT complexity, up to 10 years of battery life and low device costs, and support operators such as MTN South Africa.”


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