T-Mobile completes NB-IoT trial across Las Vegas

T-Mobile, Ericsson, and Qualcomm have announced completing trials of narrowband IoT connectivity across a live LTE network in Las Vegas.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

T-Mobile has announced completing a series of live network tests of narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) connectivity in the City of Las Vegas in partnership with Qualcomm and Ericsson.

The carrier used multiple sites of its live commercial LTE network in Las Vegas for the tests, as well as 200KHz of Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum along with Qualcomm's global multimode LTE IoT modem.

"Connecting the IoT -- and virtually everything -- requires wireless technologies that can scale up to high-performance IoT and also scale down to low-complexity IoT application needs. New LTE narrowband technologies support lower power consumption, improved coverage, and increased device density," said Qualcomm VP of Product Management Vieri Vanghi.

CTO Neville Ray said T-Mobile will light up its NB-IoT network this year, with customers able to use its all-in-one IoT Access packs on certified Cat-1 modules.

T-Mobile also recently announced plans to roll out a nationwide 5G network in 2019 using the 600MHz spectrum band it purchased for $8 billion from the Federal Communications Commission, with full coverage across the US expected by 2020.

"First, we are going to dedicate part of the new 600MHz spectrum we just won to LTE and then part to 5G nationwide. This means T-Mobile is the first company to commit to building a nationwide 5G network," Ray said in May.

"In addition to the 600MHz band, we have 200MHz of spectrum in the 28/39GHz bands covering nearly 100 million people in major metropolitan areas, and an impressive volume of mid-band spectrum to deploy 5G in as well. This positions T-Mobile to deliver a 5G network that offers both breadth and depth nationwide."

As part of its NB-IoT plans with Las Vegas, T-Mobile will additionally pilot flood and storm drainage sensors; smart city LED lighting; and sensors to monitor temperature, humidity, and environmental gases in Las Vegas.

The NB-IoT pilots will take place in the Las Vegas Innovation District, and follows the city last month announcing a partnership with Cisco to become a smart city.

That partnership will involve using Cisco's connected cameras, sensors, and platforms to collect and analyse data across environment, traffic, water, crowd control, transit, lighting, waste management, security, and parking.

"Having a partner like Cisco that was able to help us with sensor technology, help us understand dynamics operation and how we could find new ways of efficiency, made it an ideal partnership," City of Las Vegas CIO Michael Sherwood said.

One of the primary aims of creating a smart Las Vegas is to improve congestion at major intersections for vehicles, pedestrians, and bicycles, Sherwood said, which will involve using the data collected to reroute vehicles, improve the efficiency of traffic lights, and increase public safety.

"Using IoT technology now, we're able to look at the intersection in ways we've never looked at it before, using assets we already own. We own streetlights, we own these signal interchanges," he said.

"We're actually able to use the analytics now to look at the intersection at night and see that you're the only car there, so instead of the timer-basis that we use today ... now the camera technology can look at that and make changes."

Calling security a primary factor, Sherwood said the city is looking into deploying blockchain-based technologies in the future, with an announcement expected by the end of 2017 on this.

"We are looking at a seamless payment transaction system, so it's something on the horizon. Again, we're very forward thinking, very aggressive in all the technology we're looking at deploying."

The smart city initiative is also a good opportunity to publish additional open data, with Sherwood saying Las Vegas is the number one city in the United States on providing open data under an effort to improve transparency and boost economic outcomes.

The City of Las Vegas will be soft launching a smart city tie-in app called Go Vegas in August to provide mapping, weather, parking, and traffic information to residents. The city will gather information from the app's users to analyse how it can be improved and individualised.

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