Vodafone has switched on the first parts of a narrowband internet-of-things (NB-IoT) network and signed on two companies to trial the service.
The telco said that NB-IoT services were initially available in areas around its own offices in Port Melbourne and North Sydney, as well as “around Frankston on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula”.
There are plans to extend the network’s reach “across Melbourne’s CBD and suburbs during November” and then to “select areas of Sydney and Canberra during December, before rolling out to other areas of Australia next year”.
While the initial rollout of equipment is limited, it has a far greater range than traditional cellular technology.
Testing in suburban Melbourne saw a coverage range “of up to 30 kilometres”.
The signal was also able to penetrate “two to three double-brick walls, enabling connectivity of objects in underground car parks and basements”.
Two companies – Metasphere and ASX-listed CCP Technologies – have signed on to trial NB-IoT services.
CCP uses sensors to capture temperature and other data in controlled refrigeration environments in the food industry.
“The food industry is now confronting substantial changes in its commercial and regulatory environment,” CCP said in a statement.
“Monitoring temperature and other critical control points underpins food safety in global compliance frameworks.”
Vodafone said the Australian IoT network would be integrated into a global IoT platform operated by the Vodafone group.
CCP said it wanted to market its services globally and that discussions were underway to do so using the global Vodafone IoT service.
Vodafone’s rival, Telstra, revealed last month it had already quietly switched on an IoT network of its own. Telstra is hoping planned regulatory changes will make it easier to roll out IoT network assets in future.
Optus has also been trialling NB-IoT technology this year.