First CAT-M1 Test in Africa for Internet of Things

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Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies have successfully completed a lab trial for a Cat-M1 solution with MTN South Africa in support of MTN’s Internet of Things (IoT) ambitions.

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.

The successful test will ensure MTN continues to lead in technological IoT advancements and will prepare MTN for a new wave of solutions that can be implemented in the new future. MTN South Africa 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 smart watches or fitness bands with integrated voice communications services, pet tracking devices, point of sale terminals, vending machines and vehicle tracking with emergency calling support.

Giovanni Chiarelli, CTIO, MTN South Africa, says: “Cat-M1 provides key advantages of low-cost devices, long battery life, extended coverage and supports a wide range of use cases. 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.”

Rafiah Ibrahim, President, Ericsson Middle East and Africa, says: “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. This trial ensures MTN South Africa will capture new revenue streams and deliver the best experience to its customers.”

James Munn, Vice President of Business Development, Qualcomm South Africa, 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 optimizations to LTE that can help reduce IoT complexity, up to ten years of battery life and low device costs, and support operators such as MTN South Africa.”

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