The World Bank has advised Pakistan’s policymakers to strike a balance between implementing new specific Internet of Things (IoT) regulations and creating an environment conducive to IoT innovation.
According to official documents, as Pakistan prepares for 5G deployment, policymakers must carefully balance IoT regulations with an environment conducive to IoT innovation.
Overburdening the regulatory system can stifle industry initiatives and reduce consumer benefits. A “do nothing” or “wait and see” approach, on the other hand, has the potential to endanger public safety.
In terms of spectrum requirements and a spectrum roadmap for 5G IoT in Pakistan, the World Bank recommends the following:
(1) Align the regulatory framework with global and regional growth. Given the worldwide nature of 5G IoT device availability, it is in Pakistan’s best interests to align itself with international and regional developments as much as possible. An ideal approach would be a regulatory framework that promotes the development and growth of IoT while not imposing service or technological constraints that could stifle innovation.
Given the preceding argument, the European approach to IoT articulated by the Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG) has merit. The RSPG specifically concluded:
Because IoT is heterogeneous, there is no single solution for spectrum access that fits all of these use cases because their technical requirements differ greatly.
Frequencies allocated or identified for electronic communication services (mobile networks), such as the 700, 800, 900, 2100, and 2600 MHz bands, may be used for emerging IoT applications and services.
These are arguably opposing views to those of the GSMA, which is advocating for:
To support cellular IoT services, regulators should adopt a service/technology-neutral framework; the licensed spectrum has the capacity and coverage capabilities to support IoT growth. Pakistan should not limit the IoT spectrum and deployments to only mobile network operators (MNOs). Both MNO and stand-alone IoT versions should be allowed to coexist. MNOs already have significant advantages; if they make the necessary system investments, they will have a strong, if not unassailable, market position.
(2) For IoT, use sub-1 GHz bands. Following its release, Pakistan is advised to use the 700 MHz band for NarrowBand-Internet of Things (NB-IoT). Because of the wide and deep coverage, it can provide, as well as the fact that the NB-IoT chipset fully supports it, this band is a viable candidate.
In Australia, the 700 MHz band has been critical in extending 4G coverage to regional and remote areas that would have been economically difficult to reach otherwise. Before deploying 700 MHz, Telstra, Australia’s leading provider, had networks that covered approximately 85 percent of the population and 100,000 square kilometers. Using this band with existing and new 4G sites aided in increasing Telstra’s 4G coverage to more than 99 percent of the population and over 1.6 million square kilometers of Australia, including the NBIoT range.
Given the improved coverage and lower costs, the ability of 700 MHz to support NB-IoT/LTEM services is excellent in emerging markets such as the Philippines. It is also important to note that IoT encompasses a broader range of applications and use cases than are currently supported by mobile-cellular networks.
5G will enable new IoT use cases because some specific IoT functionality will be designed into 5G from the start, with features such as network slicing, low energy consumption, and scalability. Such factors could be addressed by requiring MNOs to support the 5G spectrum, including the 700 MHz band.
According to the documents, the current global view is that the Internet of Things is rapidly transforming how individuals, businesses, and governments communicate and work. Many devices communicating with one another will cause a fundamental shift in lifestyle. This will result in increased optimization and increased productivity. In the Pakistani context, its adoption by the agriculture sector, including animal farming, will be critical.
The interaction of telecommunications services with various new services and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications constitutes the IoT ecosystem. IoT will permeate all aspects of people’s lives and cities, as well as all industries. According to the GSMA, the global IoT market will be worth $1.1 trillion by 2025.
The GSMA anticipates that by that time, there will be over 25 billion IoT connections, owing primarily to growth in the industrial IoT market.
IoT first appeared in the context of 2G/3G networks. The development of 4G LTE networks with advantages in spectral efficiency, latency, and data throughput, on the other hand, provided the initial impetus for widespread IoT deployment.
5G offers faster transmission speeds and lower latency, allowing for greater capacity for connected devices. The ability of 5G networks to carry more data more quickly will drive significant growth in IoT applications. 5G offers some advantages to IoT that 4G and other technologies do not. These include 5G’s ability to support many static and mobile IoT devices with varying speed, bandwidth, and quality of service requirements.