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British telco O2 is the first to publicly confirm that it will be trialling 3GPP-compliant Internet of Things connectivity tech in the UK later this year.

Although the telco would not be drawn on specifics, it told The Register it would be trialling “3GPP cellular IoT [Internet of Things] technology” this year.

This is a reference to the two 3GPP working group-endorsed IoT connectivity standards: NB-IoT (Narrowband Internet of Things) and LTE-M. The third major player in this space is LoRaWAN, which, unlike the other two, uses unlicensed spectrum for the transmission and receipt of data.

“We will be performing live trials this year to gain more practical insight into the technology,” an O2 spokesman told us.

Analysys Mason research director Tom Rebbeck, commenting on the announcement, told us: “It’s another sign of Telefónica hedging its bets – a small investment in Sigfox and some announcements, trials of NB-IoT in Chile and Spain, and it was part of the announcement at MWC of operators backing LTE-M. It’s being more cautious than some other big operators like Vodafone, AT&T, DT and Orange.”