Russia awards spectrum for NB-IoT

The State Commission for Radio Frequencies (GKRCH) (Государственная комиссия по радиочастотам (ГКРЧ)) allocated radio frequency bands to operators for the deployment of networks for the Internet of things in accordance with the NB-IoT standard (Narrow Band Internet of Things). The operators emphasize that the GKRC decision to allocate radio frequencies is an extremely important event.

The decision of the GKRC was taken at the meeting after the report of the Union of Mobile Telecommunication Operators LTE was presented. The minutes of the meeting of the SCRM are published on the website of the Ministry of Communications. In particular, for the establishment of NB-IoT networks in Russia, the commission authorized the use of radio frequency bands 453-457.4 MHz and 463-467.4 MHz, 791-820 MHz, 832-862 MHz, 880-890 MHz, 890-915 MHz, 925-935 MHz, 935-960 MHz, 1710-1785 MHz, 1805-1880 MHz, 1920-1980 MHz, 2110-2170 MHz, 2500-2570 MHz and 2620-2690 MHz.

The document specifies that among the above-mentioned radio frequencies of LTE and GSM standards, communication operators should apply only those that GCRCH allocated and allowed to use to operators earlier. That is, operators do not need to receive new permissions to use radio frequencies or radio frequency channels when creating NB-IoT networks.

At the same time, if operators do not have permission to use radio frequencies or radio frequency channels for radio electronic means (RES) of GSM or LTE standards, they must obtain permission from SCRP, having fulfilled several conditions. "The used RESs in the NB-IoT mode can not require protection from interference and should not create unacceptable interference of RESs used for the needs of state authorities, the needs of the country's defense, state security and law enforcement, including those operating in the neighboring radio frequency bands," - specified in the document. In addition, SCRC excludes the operation of the RES in the NB-IoT mode in the radio frequency bands 453-453.15 MHz and 463-463.15 MHz in the territory of Moscow and the Moscow Region.

Estimating the radio frequencies that SCRF allocated to operators for the creation of NB-IoT networks, Andrei Kolesnikov, president of the Internet of Things Association (AIV), noted that all frequencies between 700 MHz and 1 GHz are the most "long-range" ones. And Alexander Minov, General Director of JSC National Research Institute of Technologies and Communications (NIITS), believes that the attractiveness depends on the prevalence of devices operating in the respective radio frequency bands, which are not yet available on the market. In PJSC "MegaFon" added that the most applicable low frequencies, which allow to provide a large coverage area - 800 MHz, 900 MHz and 1800 MHz.

The experts interviewed by the ComNews correspondent explained that all of the above radio frequencies do not overlap with radio frequencies intended for the development of LoRaWAN networks in Russia, another communication standard for the construction of Internet networks of things. "For the standard LoRaWAN, a separate solution of the GKRCH provides frequencies of 868 MHz, so they do not overlap with those allocated for the NB-IoT standard," explained Alexander Minov.

Nevertheless, as noted by Valery Gelenava, Director of Development of the National Center for the Internet of Things (NCIP), GCRC could help the development of LoRaWAN networks by taking steps to expand this unlicensed range and removing existing capacity limitations.

"Harmonization of the frequency plan in the 868 MHz band with the European frequency allocation table will allow us to use in Russia a large number of IoT devices already developed and manufactured for European users and to sell devices designed for Russia to Europe. Wednesday IoT, "- noted in the NRTI.

At Strizh, the Russian provider of LPWAN solutions for IoT, the probability of providing a separate range for the development of LoRaWAN networks as low is still being assessed by the regulator.

Nevertheless, the official representative of the press service of the Ministry of Communications of the Russian Federation told ComNews that GKRCH plans to consider the issue on the frequency range in which LoRa networks could operate.

"The decision of the commission concerns only operators of LTE networks, that is, in fact, the" Big Four. "This is unlikely to strengthen competition between them, but definitely will give impetus to the development of IoT-networks in Russia, - added to the NCIB. the four have just tested NB-IoT and have launched small pilot non-commercial projects, they can now officially launch commercial services. "

As the president of the Russian Internet Alliance of Things (IoTRA), the president of the Strizh company Andrei Sinitsin noted in a conversation with ComNews, as of January 1, 2018, the company is aware of four NB-IoT networks in Russia. "At the current pace of development of the NB-IoT network and, especially, the final devices of the first commercial implementations, we should expect only by the second half of 2018. A preparation for production and certification of ready smart devices is likely to shift the implementation time for 2019-2020," - said Andrei Sinitsin.

According to the estimates of the Strizh company, it will take another two to three years to fully launch the NB-IoT in certain regions. Deployment of networks will begin with the most cost-effective solutions with the highest subscriber density - in large cities. "Accordingly, the introduction of NB-IoT technology by mobile operators will not have a significant impact on the development of Strizh's projects," Andrei Sinitsin said, adding that "Strizh" considers work in the unlicensed range as an advantage that allows deploying private or closed LPWAN networks for the Internet of things in sparsely populated areas relatively inexpensive base stations.

As reported by the Ministry of Communications of the Russian Federation, at the moment the agency sees the interest of the Big Four operators in the development of projects to create NB-IoT networks. Andrei Kolesnikov from AIV believes that a large number of telecom operators will immediately start developing NB-IoT networks.

Julia Dorokhina, the head of the press service of PJSC MegaFon, said that the company supports the decision of the GKRC to allocate frequencies for creating NB-IoT networks. "In the context of the development of the Internet of things, MegaFon relies on the NB-IoT standard, its technological advantages are obvious: it operates in the licensed frequency range, which guarantees reliability, security and continuity of data transfer," MegaFon noted. In addition, the NB-IoT signal has an increased permeability and range, and the network capacity allows several tens of thousands of IoT devices to be connected to one base station.

"Low power consumption extends the life of the radio module without replacing the battery for several years.This is the key factors that, in our opinion, guarantee the wide use of NB-IoT in transport, energy, housing and communal services and real estate, as well as in agriculture," noted Yulia Dorokhina.

She added that MegaFon is a pioneer in mastering the NB-IoT standard in Russia among operators. "In March 2017, we were the first to demonstrate the work of smart counters for housing and communal services on the basis of NB-IoT, and in September a comprehensive solution already appeared in the innovative city of Innopolis," the company said and said that "decisions on the further development of projects for networking NB-IOT will be adopted depending on the region and the valid permits. "

In PJSC "VimpelCom" (brand "Beeline") stressed that the decision of SCR adopted by bands 453-457,4 MHz and 463-467,4 MHz, it is essential for service providers, as this will reduce energy consumption of devices using the same radius maintenance of the base station and to increase the signal penetration in urban conditions. "In general, it is important and timely solution to help speed up the execution of the state program" Digital Economy "and the development of the concept of" Industry 4.0 "in Russia and" VimpelCom "intends to actively participate in this" - said the company.

The press service of VimpelCom added that the NB-IoT standard will be a technological breakthrough for the Internet of things in Russia. "VimpelCom" plans this year to implement a number of pilot projects based on the new standard. "We are working with the leading manufacturers of equipment and IoT platforms to organize solutions in the context of smart cities, utility services and mobile services," they concluded in VimpelCom.

The head of NIITS stressed that NB-IoT is a very promising standard that will create additional opportunities for the development of the Internet of things and the digital economy in Russia. He added that for telecom operators this is one of the competitive drivers of development. "The decision of the GKRC is the removal of a significant barrier for the development of IoT networks in Russia, and the driver of the program is the Digital Economy of the Russian Federation," the NIITS reported.

At the same time, according to Andrei Kolesnikov, now in Russia the problem is not the frequencies, but the availability of NB-IoT modules on the market that would satisfy the cost and could compete with the LPWAN modules. In addition, the head of the AIV added, the key is the cost of the vendor upgrade (licenses) of mobile base stations to support NB-IoT. "The market for devices and solutions that use NB-IoT simply does not exist at the present time." In simple terms, technology will not be massively launched this year, "the association concluded.

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