China Telecom reached a new milestone as its 5G Narrow Band-Internet of Things (NB-IoT) user base grew to more than 100 million.
According to the local media reports, this is the largest number of 5G NB-IoT connections the industry has ever acquired, making China Telecom the world’s largest carrier for NB-IoT and the world’s first carrier to have developed such a large user base.
NB-IoT is a narrowband radio access technology designed for the IoT, allowing connections between IoT devices that are faster and on a wider range. The connection is for devices requiring small amounts of data, over long periods and consumes less energy.
The Chinese state-owned telecommunication company launched nationwide NB-IoT coverage in 2017 and has since deployed 400,000 base stations, giving it nearly 98% coverage across China.
In July 2020, NB-IoT was officially endorsed as one of the global 5G standard systems, paving the way for it to become an important part of 5G's three major use cases.
China Telecom's IoT services are used to support smart firefighting, security surveillance, urban facility management, smart homes, passenger car, charging device management, and smart appliances.
The company also leads in industry-specific use cases, with NB-IoT smart gas and water users numbering almost 30 million, making it the world's largest provider of NB-IoT smart water and gas meter services.
According to industry sources, its compatriot and rival China Mobile closed 2020 with 873 million IoT connections but didn’t disclose NB numbers, which it previously tipped to hit 70 million by the year-end.
Huawei estimates global NB-IoT connections hit 100 million in January 2020, it said.