Nordic Semiconductor claims that, in conjunction with iBasis, a provider of communications solutions for operators and digital players worldwide, it has completely invalidated any question marks over cellular IoT and eSIM technology used in NB-IoT and LTE-M Low Power Wide-Area (LPWA) use cases. This follows reports of successful field-testing across 30 countries using a single eSIM from iBasis.
Markets for for Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) connectivity include the U.S, France, and Finland, and for LTE-M (Long-Term Evolution: M2M) the U.S, Canada, France, Australia, Japan, South Korea and more than 18 other additional countries using the Nordic nRF9160 multi-mode NB-IoT/LTE-M SiP, Nordic Thingy:91 rapid prototyping platform, and iBasis’ single eSIM.
iBasis says this field testing represents a critical milestone in the evolution of both NB-IoT and LTE-M cellular IoT wireless technology because it represents the first successful massive field-testing of the LPWA cellular connectivity with a single eSIM. NB-IoT and LTE-M cellular IoT devices are predicted to cross the five-billion connection mark by 2025.
Nordic customers are now able to connect and monitor their LPWA devices globally on iBasis’ Open eSIM without the logistics of deploying different SIM cards in each country. Nordic and iBasis’ testing of iBasis Global Access for Things is the first time a provider confirms standards-based cellular technologies, including LTE-M, NB-IoT, and eSIM, are now ready for massive IoT deployments.
The cellular connectivity tested is enabled on a single GSMA-compliant eSIM card. Assessments were performed configuring Nordic’s nRF9160 System-in-Package (SiP) and Nordic Thingy:91 modems via the Nordic Link Monitor application, with AT commands used to switch between different networks and select/force different bands. AT commands were also used to switch between NB-IoT and LTE-M on the same board. Where supported, Power Saving Mode (PSM) was tested, as well as IP-based data delivery in the core network together with data transfer optimisation over the S11u interface for the NB-IoT use case.
This first phase of field testing was completed over six months for LTE-M and intensively over the past few months for NB-IoT. As a result of this successful phase, the connectivity solution is confirmed to be ready for general release at the end of September 2019.
“We are thrilled to announce this industry first with our partner Nordic Semiconductor,” says Ajay Joseph, CTO and head of IoT Business at iBasis. “Building on the momentum of our successful integration of the industry’s only open eSIM from iBasis with Nordic’s leading nRF91 Series cellular IoT modules, we have now demonstrated the first successful execution of LTE-M and NB-IoT cross markets with a single eSIM. This is critical to support the ever-increasing demand for seamless, turnkey cellular connectivity for LPWA devices globally.”
“This is a very exciting development for Nordic,” adds Nordic CEO, Svenn-Tore Larsen. It’s another important step in our journey to create the absolute best customer experience by driving simplicity, flexibility and performance in all aspects of cellular IoT for the broadest array of devices deployed across the IoT ecosystem.”
“It is good to see that iBasis is putting a lot of effort into making both LTE-M and NB-IoT work on the same SIM,” says Jan Willem Smeenk, CEO of SODAQ. “At the stage we are currently in with the international roll-out of NB-IoT and LTE-M whereby not in all countries support both networks, it is crucial to have a partner that works hard to support both network types.”
“The time for eSIM has arrived in the IoT market and we expect it to dominate future growth of IoT cellular connections over the coming years,” says Robin Duke-Woolley, CEO of specialist IoT analyst firm, Beecham Research. “This achievement of iBasis and Nordic is most welcome and will significantly aid market growth of NB-IoT and LTE-M in the crucial high volume, low data rate segment of the IoT market.”