With the ever-growing rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), and 5G opening up the potential of even more connected devices, Vodafone continues to build its IoT coverage footprint to support New Zealand businesses as they seek productivity and operational benefits.
Vodafone already provides IoT coverage on both Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) and Long Term Evolution for Machine to Machine (LTE-M), and expects to reach greater than 60% geographic land coverage on NB-IoT over the next few years as its regional investment programme continues and Rural Broadband Initiative 2 (RBI2) reaches completion.
"We are seeing increasing numbers of New Zealand businesses expand their Internet of Things strategies and bring more connected devices and sensors into their operations to maximise productivity, particularly within the agriculture sector as a key growth engine of our economy," says Tony Baird, wholesale - infrastructure director at Vodafone New Zealand.
"We are pleased the RBI2 rollout on Cat-M is now live to complement Cat-M on the Vodafone network, and NB-IoT network expansion plans also continue to progress well," he says.
"We are proud to currently offer the largest NB-IoT network in Aotearoa New Zealand."
According to the telecommunications company, NB-IoT is great for low power, wide area coverage for applications such as metering of power and water - while Cat-M offers lower range but higher bandwidth for applications like video and security.
"With 5G heralding in the era of connected devices, we expect IoT to become even more important to NZ businesses now and in the future," says Baird.
This week, Vodafone reached over 60% geographic coverage for IoT devices in the Manawatu - Whanganui region, with network investments continuing to better connect other parts of the country. This supplements the Vodafone 4G network, which now reaches more than 97% of the population in Manawatu - Whanganui.
"As a long, thin, often sparsely populated country it is hard to offer connectivity to all of New Zealand's land mass, but our greater than 60% target will provide Internet of Things coverage to the vast majority of our agricultural and productive land," says Baird.
"Technology continues to evolve and for businesses buying new Internet of Things solutions, which often are investment decisions that can last at least 10 years, we recommend purchasing devices that connect to newer generation networks such as 4G and 5G," he says.
Vodafone maintains almost three million connections with consumer, business, public sector and wholesale customers via Vodafone and Farmside, New Zealand's rural broadband specialist.