Podcast EP 151 - What does 2G and 3G sunsetting mean for your IoT devices - Martin Whitlock, CTO, Telenor IoT

EP 151 - What does 2G and 3G sunsetting mean for your IoT devices - Martin Whitlock, CTO, Telenor IoT

Nov 07, 2022

Our guest this week was Martin Whitlock, CTO of Telenor IoT. Telenor IoT is a world-leading provider of managed IoT connectivity for cloud services that enable cost-effectively building and operating both large and small-scale IoT solutions.

In this talk, we discussed the impacts of 2G and 3G sunsetting on IoT device manufacturers, owners and operators. We also explored how companies can minimize the effect of 2G and 3G phase-outs on their customers and how they can future-proof devices currently in design and production.

Key Questions:

  • What does it mean to sunset a communications technology?
  • What are the practical implications of the 2G and 3G sunsets for IoT device manufacturers?
  • How do existing products need to be modified to maintain functionality after the infrastructure sunsets are implemented?
  • How will functionality be impacted for systems that have both cloud and embedded/edge capabilities?

Erik: Martin, thanks for joining us on the podcast today.

Martin: Thank you, Erik.

Erik: So, let's see. Where are you sitting today, Martin?

Martin: Today I'm sitting in Stockholm, where Telenor IoT have our head office. Actually, I'm broadcasting this from my own. I'm still living in the hybrid environment of the COVID, I guess.

Erik: Yeah, okay. Beautiful. I spent some time in Stockholm back in the early 2000s and '10s with my previous company. It's a beautiful city. I am sitting in Shanghai. So, I'm very envious of your COVID policy because we're dealing with zero COVID. You can imagine that's a different situation entirely.

Martin: I can imagine that, yes.

Erik: And you are CTO of Telenor IoT. So, I'm familiar with Telenor, and I'm familiar with IoT. But maybe you can start by giving us a good brief of what does Telenor IoT encompass.

Martin: Absolutely. I'm happy to. Well, Telenor, being one of the main telco groups in the global sense, we have, of course, operations mainly in both markets, primarily in the Nordics and in Asia. Telenor IoT is the entity basically doing the IoT business, which could be both local business units or as the organization that I'm actually representing — Telenor Connexion. We are focusing on the international IoT business. So, that means that it could be for customers anywhere in the world and for devices that are deployed in both our own networks, of course, but more often in other operators — networks using roaming or other types of collaboration. Solving the international IoT business enterprises that typically go global with their connected devices

Erik: Great. Today, we're going to be deep diving into this topic of sunsetting 2G and 3G. But before we get into that, it'd be great to get a little bit more background in terms of the scope of your business, because that will probably define also the scope of our conversation. So, are you covering B2C devices, enterprise and industrial devices? Are there particular asset categories or industries that Telenor IoT focuses on?

Martin: Well, we, as a company, we primarily do business-to-business. But that necessarily doesn't rule out that our SIM cards are finally entering consumer type of devices. Because our customers might be in the B2C business themselves. I dare to say that there's probably not any vertical or use case for IoT that is not somehow covered by our customer base. We're sort of utility companies, automotive, fleet management, industrial manufacturing, whatever. It's a wide range of customer base. They are situated, as I mentioned, also internationally. They could have their headquarters basically anywhere in the world.

But then, legacy-wise, obviously, being an older company, we have been quite strong in the Nordic region and had the opportunity to support some of them, forward leaning-companies taking their connected trucks and cars globally at an early stage. I think that is a journey that we've been happy to be part of and now have made international and continue to build on.

Erik: Yeah, great. Maybe we can do a quick 101 on what it means for a telecom when you move from serving, let's say, cellular devices or internet connectivity — which is more than traditional business — where people tend to stay put with their devices in one country, and then move to IoT devices where they can end up anywhere in the world, be crossing borders, et cetera. I think that will also be a topic that's relevant. But what has that meant for Telenor as you move from servicing a geographic region to servicing devices that could be anywhere in the world?

Martin: I think for Telenor IoT, this is the prime spot of what we do. I think we realized rather quickly, by actually helping these companies that wanted to go international from the Nordics, that it requires a certain amount of all the processes and operational excellence to make this convenient. Because even if we're talking about standards and we're talking about networks that should behave in a similar manner — regardless of wherever you are in the world — we know that there are some odd cases and some challenges to making that totally seamless.

I think that's where we come in for our customers — to be providing one interface, basically, for a global connectivity and making sure that wherever this device actually pops up in the world once it's sold and in the hands of the end customer, we make sure that it's run and operated in a similar manner, regardless for our customers, so that they can use us as a single pane of glass or one stop shop, whatever you want to call it, to make that happen. It shouldn't be underestimated, the complexity of it. But I think it can definitely be done. I think it became more and more important, actually, for many manufacturing enterprises today to be able to benefit from the IoT use cases, regardless of where in the world they're selling the devices.

Erik: Okay. Great. I think this is a topic we'll return to later certainly when we're talking about sunsetting networks. Then if you have a fleet of devices that are deployed in Ghana, in Sweden, in Brazil, in Japan, you're going to have different situations evolving around the world for your fleet. But let's take it step by step.

As we begin discussing the concept of telecoms now, sunsetting their 2G and 3G networks, maybe we can start very basic. What does it mean to sunset a communications technology, and what exactly are we sunsetting? Are we seizing updates of the networks? Are we stopping maintenance? Are we doing a hard cutoff, or are we basically turning the equipment off? What are we exactly talking about here?

Martin: I think the short answer is that when you sunset a network technology, it's basically being shut off. I think it's hard to stop doing patches and upgrades as long as you operate the network. Because we all know that things like the security environment around the world right now, you need to stay up to date with the latest patches and things like that. As long as you have a service, I trust that operators — wherever they are — have a good quality of it.

But then at some point, legacy technologies become obsolete or actually not efficient enough to cope with the expectations of today's communication. So, I think that's when operators start to plan a controlled sunset. I say controlled sunset because I don't think that anyone is just deciding from day-to-day that, "Let's shut this network off now." Usually, these are things that are being planned for a few years ahead and then communicated, of course, to the market and the customers in the best way possible. Then eventually, someone pulls the plug. Then the need for it, at some point, comes, I think. It's not anything new as such, I think.

Looking beyond the cellular technologies, we have all seen the sunset of the telegraph. We have seen sunsets of DSL lines, more markets in favor of a fiber connectivity and such things. So, I think it happens all the time. It's probably part of the natural evolution. But now it starts to become the turn of 2G and 3G when looking at the cellular technologies.

Erik: What's the business logic behind this? Because I imagine that when you sunset 3G, for example, there are still some set of devices that will be then, to some extent, bricked. Because they didn't plan — whenever they were deployed 10 years ago — for different generations. So, there'll be some maybe small set of device operators who will be unhappy about this. But is it basically the business case of saying okay, now the pool of devices that require this is sufficiently small? It's an inefficient system to maintain. Therefore, we just are going to decide as an industry to move forward. How are these decisions made from managing the needs of the different stakeholders involved?

Martin: I think that usually there are a number of different parameters that needs to be weighed together. You're right. There will be situations for some that suddenly won't have a service that they've had in the past because of this. So, that's the drawback of it. As you mentioned as well, there is a natural evolution. That comes also into the devices and the hardware that are out in the field — that they are also being modernized and replaced. At some point, it doesn't really make sense any longer to maintain the legacy networks.

I think that the primary drivers for it is, of course, the technology has caught up with some of these technologies that we have been running for a long time, decades even. 2G and 3G, they have both served us well and made a lot of impact, of course, and contributed to where we are today. But looking at the performance from a data rate perspective, from a spectrum efficiency perspective, power consumption — which is, of course, something that is a hot topic these days, at least here in Europe where we have the energy crisis going on — I think there are a lot of reasons for starting to shut off these legacy networks and instead deploy more modern technologies that will serve the market and the customers in a great way in the coming decades.

These are the things that needs to be considered. But I think it's not one parameter that will be looked at. Some parameters might be important. I think even talking, again, about the power consumption, looking at the technology like 3G, it consumes quite a lot of power. I think a lot of operators this day need to take into consideration that they have a fairly empty 3G network most likely, because most devices have already moved into 4G, or even 5G. But it's being consumed more or less the same type of power that it has since its heyday. So, I think that is definitely something to look at also from a society perspective, how we can support each other to preserve electricity capacity.

Erik: That's interesting. Okay. So, the electricity consumption doesn't necessarily scale with the devices. It more scales with the network. You then have to have economies of scale then to use the network efficiently.

Martin: Correct. I think often it's about shutting off hardware at the end, which is currently being dedicated sometimes to a certain technology.

Erik: Well, let's then discuss where we are today. So, we can look at 2G and 3G. Maybe it makes sense here to look at this geographically. Because I suppose Sweden, for example, has probably moved away from 2G quite a while ago, and maybe Sub-Saharan Africa is still relying on 2G for more use cases. But where are we around the world in 2G and 3G networks today?

Martin: Actually, you're not quite right with having moved away from 2G. Even here in Sweden, we have communicated an end date for the 2G network, which will be sometime in 2025. But we're still operating those. That is actually the case in most markets around the world. That technology is still around. There are a few markets that have either already shut off the last networks. I think, in Malaysia, they are quite far ahead on that. In the U.S., there's a communication that in next year, the last 2G network will be shut off, and so on. So, there are some markets where we see a total sunset already, or at least in the near future. But on most markets, it's still being in the planning and communication of setting end dates phase.

It does look a little bit different depending on where you are in the world, as you're hinting as well. I think in the EU, in Europe, you have mostly seen 3G sunsets so far than 2G, actually. There are probably a few reasons for that. One being that 2G might be the network technology that has been providing coverage for the longest time, it provides the best coverage and also operates in slightly lower frequencies often, on the 900 megahertz band. That means that you have better radio propagation and thereby providing coverage shared profile that spans across geographies in a better way. For that reason, you sometimes want to keep it alive just for that.

But then we have other things. Actually, the IoT businesses is such as one driver for maintaining the 2G networks in some cases because of the legacy. Because of the fact that we have, which is fantastic in itself, we have IoT applications that have been around for 15, maybe even more years and still operates actually, which is fascinating itself. Even if handsets as such are not using 2G in a large extent, they are still connected MTOM on IoT devices that use it.

We also have a situation in Europe where you have a fairly recent regulation enforced in equal emergency call for vehicles. So, all newly sold vehicles since 2018 need to have this equal service in place, which is standardized around 2G still. I know that the industry is working hard on moving forward into more modern networks there. But it will have certain elements that basically keeps the 2G networks alive in Europe. But 3G, on the other hand, has started to be reformed so that we can use the spectrum for 4G and 5G technologies instead.

Then looking at Asia, often it's a little bit different. 2G has been sometimes sunsetted first. Maybe there is not too much of dependency to legacy networks, legacy installed base, but rather the fact that 2G is even less efficient than 3g. So, for that sense, it makes more sense to reform 2G spectrum first.

I mentioned U.S., they have spent a lot of efforts into rolling out 4G, 5G networks the last couple of years. So, they feel that they are ready to shut off both 2G and 3G. While Africa, as you mentioned also, they still have high dependency on feature phones. They have some financial services and other things that are based on 2G. So, they're probably just going to stick around for quite some time.

I think this is the complexity of it. It's not easy to say that this is what's happening globally right now. It looks quite different, actually, from market to market or even geographies. But that is something that players like us, of course, need to do our best to keep an eye on, and understand the market dynamics of it from a global perspective since our customers often have a global perspective on their deployment.

Erik: You mentioned a concept there, which is reforming spectrum. As 2G or 3G are shut down, is some of that spectrum being used for 5G? Where would the use be for that spectrum as it's freed up?

Martin: Yeah, you're right. Spectrum could be seen as a natural resource which is not endless. Well, of course, if you scale up in frequency, you have quite a lot of spectrum still to be used. I think that's where 5G sometimes come in. 5G is built in a way that it can utilize the high frequency spectrum. We're talking about the millimeter wave band and gigahertz well above the traditional 2G, 3G spectrum that was used.

But also, I think I mentioned that the spectrum that has historically been used for 2G and 3G technology primarily in the lower spectrum — lower frequency bands — is quite precious for us, operators, and of course also for the mobile subscribers. Because the low frequency has typically better propagation. So, it covers areas and geographies in a better way.

For IoT, I think that is particularly important since a lot of the IoT devices might be installed in basements and even on the roads and stuff like that, where we have sensors that should control the pumps or electricity meters, or whatever it be. I think the use of the low frequency bands and making that optimized for future IoT deployments is quite important. So, that is one of the reasons why you want to reform the spectrum. Because the modern technologies can support much higher rate or higher connected devices per cell site than 2G and 3G can.

Erik: Very interesting. Well, let's move into the practical implications of this for, I guess, at least two audiences. Maybe there's more. But one would be IoT device manufacturers, and the other would be the device owners and operators. How do you look at this? Maybe first, how do you look at the companies that will be impacted, and then what would be the impacts for them?

Martin: I think one of the worst type of impacts that could happen — and I should be clear on that — is that if the device company that has connected devices in the field right now, and you happen to have only legacy technologies in that device, and you happen to be in a market where all of the networks are being shut off for the legacy, then you could be stranded. You could lose connectivity at the same day as the network has been shut off. That is, of course, the worst-case scenario. You should do whatever you can to avoid that, of course. I think, in a more positive note, I think the impact is that you should now most likely start to prepare for this transition into the new technologies, unless you already have modems and devices that support also 4G, for instance.

Erik: Yeah, got it. So, what does that look like? Let's say, you have different situations. You have devices that are already in the field. I guess if the device is a very small IoT device, a small sensor, low cost, maybe you just brick it and put a new device in the field. If it's maybe a more expensive asset, then I guess you send somebody out there to change the modem.

You have this management of devices in the field, and then you have products that are still in production. They might have devices already sold, but they're still in production. So then, you might be looking at redesigning those products, I suppose. Then you have, obviously, future products that are in planning and planning for the future, which we can handle separately. What's the roadmap for a company to think through? How do I manage my devices that are either already in the field or that I'm manufacturing today?

Martin: I think, of course, information collection is the first phase there to assess the situation, see what markets am I exposed to. Where do I have the installed devices, and what do they support? That's a bit of an information gathering. I think it can be done in many different ways. Obviously, whenever we have customers, we try to help them with this. I get a lot of questions, of course. We also push out information whenever we know that there is going to be a sunset.

I know that GSMA, which is the association for most mobile operators are connected to, they try to keep a published list of all publicly announced sunsets that will take place. I say publicly announced because it's not always that all operators are super transparent, unfortunately, with the plans. That is, of course, something that we encourage everyone to be. Because it will impact the IoT customers eventually. At least, they know well in advance what's going to happen. I think GSMA published a list. There are press releases or another public communication, of course, from some operators. We, since a number of years back, had a routine to regularly, from our perspective, or scalar rolling partners if they have any plans. Sometimes we would get the information well in advance. But it's, of course, always up to the operator itself to decide if they want to share this.

But once you have that information, once you know where you have your devices, and what plans are in place for that region, I think that's when you need to do the cross check and see what kind of lifespan do I expect from these devices. Are they expected? If they only have the legacy network technologies to start with, that's, of course, the first check. Provided they have only legacy technology in place, how long do I expect them to be still operational? Is that timeline longer than what I expect the network operators to maintain the networks?

Then I have an issue of course. Then you need to start to prepare. How do I address this? Is that replacing the device and entirely replacing the modem? You're absolutely right. I don't think that all IoT devices have a cost that motivates replacing a modem. That might be even more expensive. But then of course, if you have an expensive device, a big machine of some sort or a car maybe even, then it might be very well relevant to replace it.

Maybe you can run it in an efficient way. Maybe you can combine it with a service window that you're already testing the device or something like that, to avoid an additional field trip. I think this is extremely dependent on the use case and the actual application and how it's being operated. I know also for a fact that there are a number of sensors that you use the old ones, and then you expect it to sit there and it doesn't have any maintenance. It's not meant to have that. Maybe it was not even calculated for in the original business case. Then of course, you need to assess what that means for you in a situation like this.

Erik: What about for the products that are in production today that maybe have modems for 2G and 3G, but maybe have also hardware that supports LTE-M or NB-IoT? What would be the thought process for deciding do we want to redesign this, to maybe take out the 2G, 3G hardware so we can reduce bond cost? I guess it's the similar calculation of, how many of our customers are going to value this? How would you advise companies that are looking at this design decision in determining when do we redesign our products?

Martin: It's a very important question. I'm afraid there's not one answer to it. It's one of those 'it depends' type of questions, unfortunately, and something that we also spend quite a lot of time on and coaching our customers on doing the right decisions along the line. Because it has a dependency, once again, to the geography which I mentioned. It looks very different depending on where in the world you are. Some are only deploying their IoT or planning to deploy their IoT devices in a certain region. That could mean either that you have to maintain the legacy technologies a little bit longer than originally expected. Because you know that you're exposed to markets where you will be dependent still on 2G, 3G for coverage reasons maybe. Or it could mean that you can be more forward-leaning and start to deploy devices without the legacy technologies embedded. Because you can save some cost on it. You're safe and reliant upon 4G and 5G to provide the coverage that is required for the application to work.

But it is really a timing issue. I think that's the tricky part, a little tricky situation we're in right now. This midlife crisis that we sometimes talk about in our company. We cannot say that we are not dependent on the legacy technologies, not even for new deployments actually. If you go global, you probably need not only the 4G-based LTE-M or a NarrowBand IoT technologies, but you also need 2G technology for having coverage in markets like Africa and certain other geographies, even Europe actually. That's an unfortunate situation, but it's actually where we are right now. We are in this transition, still.

Erik: Does that mean in some cases — I guess, one product would have different feature sets that would operate differently in different geographies based on the network connectivity. So, you would have then maybe certain feature sets that wouldn't work in a geography with 2G but would work in one which is served by LTE. I don't know. Hypothetically, the reverse, you might have different cost structures also related to data consumption in the market with LTE-M. You might have to build that into the business model of operating device versus 2G.

Are there implications here for future availability from the same device in different markets, and also the cost structure? I think a lot of device manufacturers are moving towards service-based, where they're not necessarily selling the CapEx but they're selling a device with certain functionality for a monthly or an annual fee. Do you see implications for these business models?

Martin: Could be. But not necessarily, actually. I think on the features side, which you mentioned, there could be different capabilities. Specifically, if you look at the new technology, as you mentioned, LTE-M and NarrowBand IoT, which count with additional features that we haven't had in the mobile industry before. Actually, these are the first technologies that are built and specified for the sole use of IoT.

Historically, we have used 2G and 3G networks, but those networks are actually built for other purposes — the handset business, primarily, a mobile broadband business. But we managed to squeeze in and terminate the IoT applications on top of those networks anyway. But LTE-M and NB-IoT are different. This means that they have functionality, very power efficient, there are sleep modes and things for extended coverage. That would be quite relevant for a lot of IoT applications. Obviously, you will only be able to take advantage of that when you're connected to one of those networks, if you have a modem that supports both the new technologies but also 2G. You're in a 2G network, obviously. You're not capable of benefiting from this new functionality. That's a given.

Here, you might have different experiences depending on where in the world you are. I know that we have some customers, for instance, that have built smart watches and other peripherals and have made the decision to go with only LTE-M, for instance, because they see that that's the future. They know that they don't have coverage everywhere in the world right now, but it will come eventually. But leaving out 2G has such a good power consumption benefit so that they've chosen to go all in on LTE-M already now. That could be the case.

Cost-wise and business model-wise, there could be differences. But I'm not sure that it's a common thing, actually, that has big impact. Quite often, you pay for the data or you pay for the connectivity, regardless of what kind of technologies that are being used for communication. Hopefully, you have a good business case, regardless if it's going to be on 2G or LTE-M or something else so that you can do this business transformation and move into more service-based charging or whatever it is that you want to bundle together with your product.

I think that's something that we see quite often right these days — customers that want to shift from being a box shifting product company into a service-based company where they also use the IoT capabilities in the devices to enhance the experience and maybe be able to sell water and stuff instead of pumps or something else. I think that that trend is quite strong.

Erik: Okay. So, if we start thinking about the future here, it sounds like migrating to NB-IoT and LTE-M is going to be the path for most companies. So, a couple of questions here. Number one would be, are there other technologies that are also suitable as a next-generation solution for IoT devices? Then the second would be, what differentiates NB-IoT from LTE-M? I've seen that Europe and the America has tend to have adopted both of those. Asia seems to be a little bit more leaning towards NB-IoT now. But what would be the decision factors for a company selecting one over the other?

Martin: Sure. I think NarrowBand IoT and LTE-M are — to me, from a cellular connectivity perspective, at least — the most natural candidates for replacing both 2G and 3G, actually. There are obviously other choices depending on how you play your chords into a transition phase like this. It could be so that you actually seize the moment and maybe have done business based on 2G for a long time, and that has served you well.

But now when you are facing a shift towards one of the newer technologies, you might want to enhance your experience and maybe take this step into becoming a service-based company instead of a product company or whatever it might be, which in turn obtain for an enhanced experience that takes advantage of even 5G services, edge computing, and what have you. All the fancy things that we are seeing in the networks being deployed right now might be the reality. At least from a global perspective, it might take a few years. But on a local perspective, you might start to benefit from 5G services already now. Then you might go that route. But if you're looking for a more of a drop replace type of scenario, then I guess that's LTE-M. To me, it's maybe even the primary candidate actually above NarrowBand IoT.

That leads to the second part of your question, what's the difference between those two? I think one of the differences is that NarrowBand IoT, in its specification, could even be seen as even more lean, actually, than, for instance, 2G. You can't expect to have higher data rates, rather the opposite. You might even experience a drop in in things like latency. Because you could have up to 10 seconds of latency round trip time for a Narrowband-IoT network. That's not unusual.

So, Narrowband-IoT is quite limited in that sense. But it's also limited in terms of cost for embedding it in this technology. It's limited in power consumption so it performs, of course, way better than any 2G modem has ever been close to and so on. It has good capabilities of reaching deep indoor coverage and such things. So, you have advantages. But to some extent, it's more limited than even 2G.

While LTE-M, I'd say, beats 2G on all aspects. It's faster. You have up to megabit of a second data rates already now. You have a latency that is on par with any 4G network, like 10 millisecond or something like that. So, you can do near real time applications from it. Power consumptions is bad in all these things. It really only makes things more capable actually moving from 2G to LTM. I think that's a good thing in this transition that you have LTE-M available.

Also, from a mobility perspective, network handover and stuff like that, if you have moving devices, it's much better supported in LTE-M and NarrowBand IoT. But it's up to your application to see what do you need to optimize for. Is it the most power efficient and cheap implementation that is required? Then maybe NarrowBand IoT is the choice for you. But if you have a little bit more demanding applications, maybe you see a need for a future firmware upgrade, campaigns or something like that, that require a little bit more bandwidth, then I think LTE-M is most likely the primary choice.

I foresee that — at least for these international deployments that spans across different networks, and so on — I think LTE-M will actually be the first choice for many, because of the fact that it has led to better capabilities. A lot of things work more smooth there. But if you have maybe a mass deployed water metering case that requires some extreme performance in certain aspects, then NarrowBand IoT must be the best choice for you. So, it's not an either or. They complement each other quite well, actually.

Erik: In terms of geographic coverage, would you expect to have, more or less, universal geographic coverage for both of these networks within the near future? Or do you also have to look at availability in different regions?

Martin: I actually expect to have them both available everywhere eventually. Then right now, we're in this transition phase and rollout phase. So, the networks, you might see a geographical differences to some extent, and you still do. But I think that's more of a tactical reason. Basically, maybe you have legacy 4G networks that have been capable of being upgraded to one of them but not the other. But as you roll out 5G and such things, I think, then most operators will have access to both the technologies. I don't see a reason for not launching both of them, actually. I think there will be plenty of use cases and devices that require both.

Erik: Okay. For myself, at least, and maybe for some of our listeners, there's always a bit of confusion between LTE-M and NB-IoT, and then 4G and 5G. Could either of these networks be built on 4G or 5G network? Often NB-IoT seems to be a bit more connected to 5G. Is both possible? Then is there a difference between, let's say, NB-IoT and a 4G network versus a 5G network?

Martin: You're excused. This is not an easy thing to understand, unless you take the time to dig into it into more detail. It is confusing. Let me put it this way. Both LTE-M and NarrowBand IoT are, as I would say, 5G technologies because they have been specified together with the 5G standardization work. So, in that essence, they are part of the 5G standardization.

That said, due to time-to-market aspects, because we all saw IT taking off in a quite rapid pace, actually, putting demands on operators to have networks capable of supporting these ever-growing connected devices, then LTE-M and NarrowBand IoT have been implemented in a way that they could be built on top of legacy 4G grids. Meaning, that the hardware we've been using for 4G could in many cases — not all cases, but in many cases — be upgraded to also support the LTE-M and/or NarrowBand IoT.

Here, you could see some differences depending on how old 4G infrastructure did you have, what kind of vendor did you have for your 4G infrastructure, and so on? Some supported upgrades to LTE-M well. Others supported upgrades in NarrowBand IoT well. Some did both, and others did not. So, there are some differences here. That's why we might see differences in rollouts globally as well or from operator to operator.

Over time, these things will blend together. The 5G networks that are being rolled out, they will support both LTE-M and NarrowBand IoT for sure. It's also part of the roadmap in the long-term life of 5G. Even if 5G in itself also introduced a new radio that is only capable in 5G infrastructure, not 4G, backwards compatible. LTE-M and NarrowBand IoT is sort of a bridge between 4G and 5G for IoT launched as early as possible. Because we, as an industry, have seen the need for it. Definitely, we'll stay around for the longevity of 5G. I don't know if that clarified things or made it even more confusing.

Erik: No, that helps a lot. That helps a lot. Thank you. Yeah, I've always associated NB-IoT with 5G, but then it seems to be used for 4G. So, you've now made this much clearer for me. In general, I now feel much better informed about the network situation. I think we've covered a good bit of territory here, Martin. Is there anything that we didn't touch on that's important for folks to know?

Martin: Yeah, maybe, is there a final word and wrapping it up? I think I fully respect the challenge that some enterprises are facing now with this transition and sunsetting on the networks. Of course, we will do — as a representative of the industry — whatever we can to support in that and help plan for the right choices at the right time, and so on.

But I think I also take the opportunity now to look forward not to having your IoT devices and use cases too much linked on technologies that actually have been around for decades in this fast-paced industry, but rather take advantage of what comes around the corner. Plan for some future development upgrades in your devices. Those service launches that you've been hoping to do for a long time, maybe now is the right time to do it, and so on, to try to turn this into something positive as well. At least, that's what I'm trying to do myself. For sure, the future is still bright. We have great networks coming up now that will really help to speed up this IoT transformation even further. So, that looks promising, I think.

Erik: Wonderful. Well, just last question from my side. I know you've launched some white papers recently that also helped to clarify the situation. If some of our listeners are really trying to navigate this situation now and looking for support with that, what's the best way for them to reach out to the Telenor IoT team?

Martin: I think the best way is probably to go to our website. Go into Telenor IoT website. We have our resource library available. Of course, we're more than happy to reach out to your closest representative as well. Maybe we can support you even better if we have a dialogue about it.

Erik: All right. Wonderful. Well, Martin, thank you for your time today.

Martin: Thank you. Thanks for inviting me.

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