MWC 2019: Ericsson and Telstra launch IoT extender

Ericsson has integrated its 100km IoT range extender with its IoT accelerator management service across Telstra's networks.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Ericsson has signalled the launch of its Internet of Things (IoT) 100-kilometre range extender in a showcase in partnership with Australian carrier Telstra, with global enterprise customers able to purchase the solution from March 30.

Speaking ahead of Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019, Ericsson ANZ head Emilio Romeo said the capability rounds out the company's IoT offering.

It integrates the Ericsson IoT Accelerator solution connectivity management service, including eSIM support, with the NB-IoT extended range capability on Telstra's cellular IoT networks and technology, he explained.

According to Romeo, Ericsson has seen global interest in the solution, and now has 30 customers in over 100 countries, covering around 3,500 enterprises.

The company is predicting 4.1 billion cellular IoT connections by 2024, more than half of which will be in North East Asia.

"If you're looking at 4 billion connections, it's the right time to get in there early," Romeo told ZDNet.

Earlier this month, Ericsson had unveiled a series of new solutions in four different IoT segments, including Massive IoT to provide products for smart metering and asset tracking across logistics, agriculture, and environment monitoring in particular. The new solution in this segment was the 100km NB-IoT Extended Cell Range software upgrade, as first showcased with Telstra back in September 2018.

Also speaking on Sunday, Telstra CTO Hakan Eriksson said the telco's mobile network covers 2.5 million square kilometres; thanks to the range extender, its IoT network now reaches 3.5 million square kilometres.

"We're preparing for the globalisation of IoT," he said.

Using the service, customers will be able to manage, access, and track their connected IoT devices locally, nationally, and globally across both Telstra's narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) and Cat-M1 networks, the companies said.

"When you're bringing together the whole network with three and a half million square kilometres, you've got the 100-kilometre range, you've got the management platform to make it easier for them, you've got the eSIM support, it's all now coming together, the whole ecosystem," Romeo said.

On why Ericsson partners with Telstra on launching IoT and networking innovations, Romeo said companies believe in the telco to get things done.

"There's a number of things; their engineering group and their engineering prowess, they've got some excellent engineers," Romeo said.

"They've become masters at creating this ecosystem early ... where we are in Australia, being geographically so far away from the rest of the world, if you don't have companies like them to help push the envelope early, we would end up being at the mercy of what everyone else decides.

"They've now become the masters at getting in there, getting the chipset manufacturers involved early, getting the device manufacturers involved early ... they've become really good at creating momentum."

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