NTT DOCOMO calls into question the strategy of having both NB-IoT and LTE-M
NTT DOCOMO Japan announced at the end of March 2020 that it was terminating its NB-IoT network, having launched it only a year earlier. This fuelled discussion that NB-IoT had failed to deliver on its early promise to provide a low-power, low-cost network solution to rival unlicensed alternatives. However, we believe that the reasons behind the announced closure were mostly unique to NTT DOCOMO. NB-IoT has suffered a number of challenges and delays, but operators that launched NB-IoT early on are now having some success and are likely to persist. Future challenges remain nonetheless, not least that NB-IoT will generate very low connectivity revenue, thereby undermining the business case for multiple LPWA networks in any given geography.
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