Q: I have a question before I start my development. I seem to remember that you mentioned in an email that we need more bands for LTE-M. Are frequency band 8 and 20 not enough?
The answer about frequency bands for LTE-M and NB-IoT in DACH
A: The question about frequency bands for LTE-M / NB-IoT often reaches me. In the webinar, we limit the answer to Germany, Austria and Switzerland plus the rest of EU27 minus 1 plus the USA and Australia. Minus 1 stands for the UK after Brexit. Nothing will change there for the time being and I don’t expect any change in the cellular frequencies. This gives us a good explanation for the antennas and certifications for the German-speaking region, EU26 + the UK and the rest of the world. In Europe, GSM will not be switched off in most countries. Germany was a pioneer in M2M based on GSM. We cannot switch off GSM. 3G (UMTS) is switched off by all network operators in Germany. LTE-M and NB-IoT we get from 3 network operators on band B8 and B20. For the fallback to GSM, band B3 is needed. A multimode module application (NB-IoT, LTE-M, GPRS) in Europe should support band 3, 8 and 20, as of January 2021.
5G Massive IoT in DACH
NB-IoT and LTE-M have been included in 5G Massive IoT. Applications for 5G Massive IoT ( NB-IoT and LTE-M) includes band 1 with network slicing in private networks in Germany. In parallel, private 5G is coming in the band n78 and thus at 3700 MHz. Unfortunately, NB-IoT and LTE-M were forgotten to be specified for n/8. We will get factories with 5G with low latency. For LPWAN in 5G at 3700 MHz = 5G Massive IoT = NB-IoT and LTE-M there are currently no cellular radio modules.
The lowest common denominator in Germany
In Germany, band 8 and 20 is sufficient for NB-IoT plus LTE-M. In Finland and a few other countries, band 3 is used for NB-IoT. However, this is primarily only done by network operators who do not have a licence for SubGHz in Europe. SubGHz means B8 and B20 for the time being. In the new LTE bands in the 700 MHz or even 600 MHz range, no European network operator currently operates LTE-M or NB-IoT. However, this is common practice in the USA and Australia. In the USA, T-Mobile, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, operates its network in band 71 with the lowest frequency of 617 MHz. Anyone planning a global deal with Deutsche Telekom or Vodafone should look into their frequency ranges worldwide or contact us for the current status. We will be happy to provide the current list on a cyclical basis.
NB-IoT, LTE-M in use in DACH, USA and AU
|GERMANY||DT||NBIOT||8||National roaming on band 20 with VF|
|GERMANY||VODAFONE||NBIOT||20||National roamimg on band 8 with DTAG|
|USA||(T-Mobile) DT||NBIOT||2, 4, 12, 71||617 MHz as the lowest frequency|
|USA||AT&T||LTE-M||2, 4, 12|
|USA||AT&T||NBIOT||2, 4, 12|
Questions for the NB-IoT LTE-M developer
In which countries should the product be sold? Are private 5G networks to be supported? Are the costs for approval known or should we make a bid? The designated countries and carriers (NB-IoT), LTE-M, GPRS) determine the frequency range of the antenna, the size of the ground plane and the number of measurements required for radio certification.
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I would be interested in receiving this mentioned below:
Anyone planning a global deal with Deutsche Telekom or Vodafone should look into their frequency ranges worldwide or contact us for the current status. We will be happy to provide the current list on a cyclical basis.
Hi Susan, Deutsche Telekom and Vodofone is static in the NB-IoT frequency range. Most of the networks are in band 20. Band 8 is rare. In Germany Vodofone and Telefonica is running NB-IoT on band 20. Deutsche Telekom selected band 8. In other countries, subsidiaries of Deutsche Telekom use band 20. Band 3 on 1800 MHz is not used by Deutsche Telekom, Vodefone or Telefonica. Band 3 only networks are rare and at a disadvantage for NB-IoT due to the high frequency. The attenuation in the air and in the wall is significantly higher at 1800 MHz.
Quectels “AT+QNWINFO” gives detailed infos about used Bands!
Recently I found LTE-M on Band 3(1800 MHz) in Germany/BW.
The blog article is from January 2021, when it was known that Deutsche Telekom (DTAG) in Germany operates its LTE-M network in band 20. In the meantime I know know that DTAG also operates its LTE-M network in band 3.
DTAG’s NB-IoT network operates on band 8. For technical reasons, DTAG also uses band 20 in some places. This is my state of knowledge in January 2021.
In addition, NB-IoT SIM cards from DTAG and Vodafone can roam nationally and in some cases also from MVNOs. Telefonica is in bands 8 and 20.
But anyone who firmly believes that NB-IoT with DTAG on band 8 is sufficient will be shipwrecked. Those who choose the wrong antennas, which only cover one NB-IoT band (band 8 or 20) correctly, will also get a cold shower.
Internationally, the whole thing becomes even more complex. There are network operators in the EU that only offer band 3 for all services. So also NB-IoT in band 3.
With bands 8 and 20 for NB-IoT, you are well equipped in the EU. With LTE-M it is band 20, and band 3. Since T-Mobile in NL can only offer band 8 for Sub-GHz, LTE-M should be in band 8 there. If you think European, then you need band 8 and 20 for NB-IoT and band 8, 20 and 3 for LTE-M.
Why don’t you have LTE-M listed for T-Mobile USA?
we have up to 23 bands in a multi-mode module. A lot of my customers plan to sell their IoT devices in Europe only. With 3 bands you cover all LTE-M and NB-IoT bands. For the USA you will need an other band selection.