KPN claims world first after deploying LoRa throughout the Netherlands

KPN announced it has launched the Netherland's first LoRa network, making the country the first globally to have such a network for Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

The network rollout began last November with its launch in two cities -- Rotterdam and The Hague -- and the strong interest in that led to KPN accelerating the overall deployment in early 2016, completing the entire operation in less than one year.

Joost Farwerck, COO and member of the Board of Management at KPN, stated that in 2015 the company, "identified an increasing demand for low-power network technology for IoT applications". He added that the business is responding to that demand "by choosing LoRa, so millions of devices can be connected to the internet in a cost effective manner".

Yet LoRa is just one of the competing technologies battling it out for supremacy in the IoT world. The GSMA is backing an agreement on common low power, wide area (LPWA) technologies by the 3GPP, to accelerate the deployment of commercial IoT products and services.

The 3GPP announced last week that it has completed standardisation of three LPWA technologies within Release 13 (LTE Advanced Pro) specifications: NB-IoT, eMTC, and EC-GSM-IoT. The standards group stated the trio of technologies will enable operators to address different sectors of the broader IoT market.

However, those cellular IoT technologies in licensed spectrum with 3GPP and GSMA backing are facing competition from unlicensed, proprietary LPWA options, including Sigfox, Ingenu, and the LoRA Alliance.

KPN equipped hundreds of existing mobile transmission towers across the country with a LoRa gateway and antenna to create the network. KPN stated it has contracts to connect 1.5 million IoT devices to the new network, and that many are already connected, while numerous proofs of concept were being tested using it.

One example of a test is being run at Schiphol Airport, where LoRa is being tested in logistical processes such as baggage handling and for facility services.

The next stage for KPN over coming months is to condense the network to further optimise it, and to launch a localisation functionality that is, according to KPN, "much-requested" by users and potential users of the new network.

For more:
- see this KPN press release

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