Telenor Norway launches national NB-IoT network

(Stavanger, 26 September 2018) Today, Telenor is opening up its 4G network to the Internet of Things. IoT on 4G makes it possible for ‘things’ to communicate via Telenor’s existing 4G network. This will become the only technology to provide full national coverage for the Internet of Things.

‘This launch is an important part of the process to digitise Norway, and will make IoT accessible to all. Instead of building and operating a separate network for the Internet of Things, companies and municipalities will now be able to spend their time developing better digital services. IoT over 4G has by far the best coverage, is more secure than unlicensed networks and is easy to use,’ says Ove Fredheim, CMO Business at Telenor Norway.

Coverage Underground

The new technology is called NarrowBand Internet of Things (NB-IoT), and it makes it possible for millions of everyday things such as rubbish bins and electricity metres to be connected to networks across the country. The new communication technology makes the 4G network suitable for the use of Internet of Things.

‘The challenge with current technology is that digital meters don’t have enough battery life to continuously send information in real time for longer periods. At the same time, the network used by the meters to send information isn’t good enough to reach the meters’ positions. NB-IoT is far more energy efficient than standard 4G, and uses lower bandwidths so that sensors and meters will have coverage even where it might be tricky to make a phone call. A water meter positioned in a pipe or chamber, or a parking sensor in a basement car park, can now be connected to the network,’ says Ove Fredheim.

From Tracking Cages to Smart Agriculture

Telenor is already working closely with several Norwegian businesses who are ready to start using the new network. Several of them demonstrated their products in connection with the launch of IoT over 4G at the Smart city fair at Nordic Edge Expo in Stavanger.

Alexander Haneng, Senior Vice President Digital Innovation at Posten and Bring, explains that they already see great potential in IoT over 4G. They have already run a pilot project that tracked 100 parcel cages:

‘We believe that the Internet of Things offers great potential. Posten currently has 22,000 specially designed parcel cages that ship packages from terminals to postal counters in stores and post offices. These parcel cages currently tend to accumulate in the wrong terminal. By using IoT over 4G, we can now track these parcel cages. This hasn’t been possible previously because we have lacked full coverage.’

Agdir were also present at the launch of the new network. By using sensor technology, they want to use the new network to make farming operations for Norwegian farmers more efficient.

‘By installing a sensor in the ground, the farmer is notified on their mobile if they need to water or fertilise the soil. Thanks to IoT over 4G, the sensors will now have a far longer battery life and good coverage. We are looking forward to testing our product nationwide,’ says André Skoog Bondevik, CEO of Agdir.

Facts about Narrow-Band Internet of Things (NB-IoT)

  • NB-IoT is a new communications technology that makes it possible for ‘things’ to communicate via the existing 4G network.
  • The network is designed to connect objects that are in locations that are difficult to access to the Internet where it would previously have been too expensive to provide a connection.
  • The sensors used are affordable to produce and have a long battery life of almost 10 years.
  • This will make it possible to connect ‘things’ to the Internet where it would previously not have been profitable or practical to do so due to issues with power supply and coverage.
  • The trade body GSMA estimates that 5.5 billion things will be connected to the new technological standard by 2021, and that the only limit to what can be connected to the Internet is the imagination.