3GPP Machine-Type Communication (MTC)

Machine-type communication (MTC) is a form of data communication which involves one or more entities that do not necessarily need human interaction.

For MTC communication the following communication scenarios can be identified:

MTC Devices communicating with one or more MTC Server

Communication scenario with MTC devices communicating with MTC server. MTC server is located in the operator domain.

MTC Devices communicating with one or more MTC Server 600x273 3GPP Machine Type Communication (MTC)

Communication scenario with MTC devices communicating with MTC server. MTC server is located outside the operator domain.

The network operator provides network connectivity to MTC Server(s). This applies to MTC Servers controlled by the network operator or to MTC Servers not controlled by the network operator.

MTC devices communicating with one or more MTC servers 600x256 3GPP Machine Type Communication (MTC)

MTC devices communicating with each other

The communication scenario where the MTC Devices communicate directly without intermediate MTC Server.

MTC devices communicating with each other 600x191 3GPP Machine Type Communication (MTC)

As technology evolves, there are important changes in capabilities and costs. More computing power, memory and communication capabilities make it possible for machines to take over tasks presently done by, but not well suited to human beings. Lower costs make it practical for machines to take over tasks not well suited to expensive human beings. Increasing capabilities and lower costs together open new opportunities for revenue generating services not previously economical to do.

The increasing capability of machines makes it possible to avoid dull and repetitious work having to be done by people, freeing them to utilize their capabilities and intelligence in better suited and much more fruitful activities.


MTC Device: A MTC Device is a UE equipped for Machine Type Communication, which communicates through a PLMN with MTC Server(s) and/or other MTC Device(s).

NOTE: A MTC Device might also communicate locally (wirelessly, possibly through a PAN, or hardwired) with other entities which provide the MTC Device “raw data” for processing and communication to the MTC Server(s) and/or other MTC Device(s). Local communication between MTC Device(s) and other entities is out of scope of this technical specification.

MTC Feature: MTC Features are network functions to optimise the network for use by M2M applications.

MTC Group: A MTC Group is a group of MTC Devices that share one or more MTC Features and that belong to the same MTC Subscriber.

MTC Server: A MTC Server is a server, which communicates to the PLMN itself, and to MTC Devices through the PLMN. The MTC Server can also have an interface which can be accessed by the MTC User. The MTC Server can:

  • Provides services for other servers (e.g. The MTC Server is a Services Capability Server for an Application Server), and/or
  • Provides services for applications and can host the application (e.g. The MTC Server is an Application Server).

MTC User: A MTC User uses the service provided by the MTC Server.

MTC Subscriber: A MTC Subscriber is a legal entity having a contractual relationship with the network operator to provide service to one or more MTC Devices.

Examples of MTC applications

Service AreaMTC applications
SecuritySurveillance systems
Backup for landline
Control of physical access (e.g. to buildings)
Car/driver security
Tracking & TracingFleet Management
Order Management
Pay as you drive
Asset Tracking
Traffic information
Road tolling
Road traffic optimisation/steering
PaymentPoint of sales
Vending machines
Gaming machines
HealthMonitoring vital signs
Supporting the aged or handicapped
Web Access Telemedicine points
Remote diagnostics
Remote Maintenance/ControlSensors
Elevator control
Vending machine control
Vehicle diagnostics
Grid control
Industrial metering
Consumer DevicesDigital photo frame
Digital camera



About Prashant Panigrahi

I am Prashant Panigrahi, live in Sweden. Now working as wireless professional and this website is just a reflection of what I learned. You can connect me on LinkedIn, Twitter
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