NTT DoCoMo in NB-IoT Network Closure Surprise

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By Jamie Moss | 2Q 2020 | IN-5815


Termination Shock


In an industry first, Japan’s NTT DoCoMo has “terminated” its Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) network. In a press release dated March 30, 2020, NTT confirmed that its NB-IoT network had been operational since April 25, 2019, i.e., for less than one year, but that it would “stop providing this communication system in order to concentrate management resources.” The literal Japanese to English translation loses some context, but NTT’s short press release makes it clear the carrier has greater financial priorities and will keep its Cat.1 and LTE-M networks operational. The formal date of “discontinuation” of NTT’s NB-IoT service is March 31, 2020, just one day after its announcement to do so—very short notice indeed and tellingly indicative of the fact that there must be very few connections live on the network.

Japan is a country whose trends do not normally match those elsewhere in the world. Historically, it has been wrong to assume that what is successful in Japan will be successful elsewhere: Personal Handy Phone System (PHS), i-m…

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