Vodafone boosts IoT service with ‘industry first’ roaming deal

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The operator has partnered with British satellite firm Inmarsat to offer IoT services on a wider global scale 

Vodafone has become the first UK operator to sign a roaming deal with British satellite firm Inmarsat, allowing it to offer Internet of Things (IoT) services on a wider global scale.

Products as part of the deal will be available from next year, giving the operator access to Inmarsat’s network of IoT satellites. Vodafone claims this will enable business partners to improve their overall connectivity across the globe. For example, they will be able to monitor an oil rig at sea or a driverless cars in remote areas of the world which would otherwise have weak or no mobile coverage.

London-based Inmarsat was established in 1979 and it has a fleet of 11 satellites, alongside specialist terminals and antennae installed on various ships, aircrafts and road vehicles.The satellites are resilient in all weather conditions and environments. It claims to have a presence in more than 60 countries across the globe.

According to IDC, IoT is expected to explode over the next four years. The analyst predicts the market will grow to £1.3 trillion by 2020.

Vodafone IoT director Ivo Rook said: “By adding satellite connectivity from Inmarsat to the Vodafone portfolio we continue to deliver on our strategy to lead in managed IoT services.

“The IoT is transforming businesses in every sector and I am delighted we are able to support more of our customers intaking advantage of all that this technology has to offer”.

Inmarsat CEO Rupert Pearce said: “Deploying satellite connectivity to complement terrestrial networks for IoT applications changes the Internet of Things into the Internet of Everywhere.

“This agreement marks a first for Inmarsat; enabling a mobile operator to utilise broadband roaming services on our global network.”

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