Ericsson and China Mobile pilot cellular IoT network
Thu 26 Jan 2017
Ericsson and China Mobile have partnered on a trial of a cellular IoT network in Shanghai. The focus of the test was to enhance the experience of customers of Mobike, a popular Uber-like bike-sharing service in the city.
The trial used Ericsson cellular IoT technologies to improve the accuracy of location services on Mobike’s IoT-enabled bikes. It also extended coverage to new areas, including underground parking lots. The test program was carried out on the China Mobile network.
In a press release, Ericsson representatives noted that the success of the Mobike trial was an important step toward the deployment of a cellular IoT system in China. Mobike, founded by a former manager at Uber, was launched in Shanghai in December 2015 and expanded to Beijing last year. Rather than use a defined parking system, once a user is finished with the Mobike they can leave it anywhere and lock it using the smartphone app. The problem then is that bikes can be difficult to locate and unlock, should the bike be left in an area with no traditional cellular coverage. The partnership between Ericsson and China Mobile conducted a cellular IoT trial to attempt to solve these problems.
Ericsson’s cellular IoT technologies are included in a software suite known as Ericsson Networks Software 16B. The company has stated that cellular IoT has many benefits over traditional cellular networks, including 60% device cost reduction, energy efficiency resulting in increased battery life, and up to 7x better coverage.
Chris Houghton of Ericsson promoted his company’s dedication to drive the adoption of cellular IoT worldwide, stating that by promoting the commercialization of cellular IoT, Ericsson would help to “unleash the full potential of the Networked Society.”
Now that a successful trial has been completed using Ericsson cellular IoT on the China Mobile system, plans are in place to further improve the experience of Mobike customers in Shanghai. In the future, new services and features will be introduced, including ‘unlock upon scanning’, which will significantly reduce the time spent waiting to unlock a Mobike.
Vice President of Mobike, Zhongjie Yang, said, “The latest cellular IoT technologies like CAT-M1 and NB-IoT will greatly enhance user experience in the future and will solve the existing challenges encountered by Mobike such as coverage in challenging locations.”
China Mobile and Ericsson recently signed an agreement to partner on cloud-based radio access networks, or CloudRAN, which have been identified as key to China Mobile’s eventual rollout of a 5G network.