The 3GPP standardisation organisation for the mobile industry accepted three technology proposals as standards for low power wide area networking for the Internet of Things.
According to the GSMA, 3GPP has acknowledged narrowband IoT, extended coverage GPRS, and LTE machine type communication as IoT networking standards. The three technologies delivered on licensed spectrum will “cover all LPWA use cases, ensuring customer choice and helping the IoT market to flourish,” the GSMA said.
GSMA acting director general and CTO Alex Sinclair describe 3GPP’s recognition of the networking options as an important step towards the establishment of a “common and global vision” that removes fragmentation and accelerate availability of industry standard solutions.
However, the announcement does raise new questions on IoT network standardisation. While both NB-IoT and EC-GPRS are accepted methods for machine type communications within the GSMA, LTE-MTC offers another approach that was previously limited to applications few and fare in between. Hence LTE-MTC’s inclusion by the 3GPP opens up the possibility that other LPWA proposals, such as LTE Category 0/1, as well as proprietary offerings like SigFox and LoRA, could still be included as part of future IoT networking standards.
GSMA’s backing of the 3GPP’s view obviously gives the decision a lot of weight, effectively pulling the entire mobile industry behind the three included standards, and leaving out all other proposals.