Sigfox rolls out IoT network in Germany

France-based Sigfox is expanding into Germany as the Internet of Things (IoT) specialist further ramps up its global rollout plans.

The move means that Germany is the 14th country where the Sigfox network is operating or being deployed. Aurelius Wosylus, who recently joined the company from Gemalto, will be responsible for managing the Munich-based operations.

Stuart Lodge, EVP for global sales and partners at Sigfox, noted that Germany is an important market for the company.

"Sigfox is building a strong ecosystem of partners across the IoT value chain and Germany has many market-leading companies whose influence extends worldwide," Lodge said.

Sigfox specialises in building low-energy, low-cost wireless networks to connect all manner of objects such as electricity meters, smart watches and washing machines, providing the infrastructure that underpins the IoT.

The company now covers or is deploying its network in 12 countries in Europe and has previously said it would cover 10 major U.S. cities by the first quarter of 2016. In February it also announced coverage partnerships with network operators in Mauritius and the French Overseas Territories.

The European countries now covered are France, Spain, the UK, the Netherlands and Italy with networks being rolled out in Luxembourg, Portugal, Belgium, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Ireland and Germany. In October last year, Sigfox also said it was opening an office in Dubai to manage its network rollout in the Middle East and Africa.

Yet as the Sigfox momentum continues, the long-term future of new LPWA network ecosystems including Sigfox, LoRa and Ingenu is increasingly being questioned.

Peter Jarich, VP of consumer and infrastructure at Current Analysis, noted in a recent column for sister title FierceWireless that LPWA networks are even being compared to WiMAX -- that much-hyped wireless technology that is now largely regarded as a failure.

"There's no shortage of reasons to worry for the long-term future of LPWAN upstarts," said Jarich.

One key reason is that they are not compliant with the 3GPP standards process. Some operators may be content to play around with the existing technologies for now but would ultimately commit to the 3GPP standard called narrow band IoT (NB-IoT), Jarich said.

"With pre-commercial trials last year, it looks like we can expect NB-IoT solutions later this year or sometime next year," he added.

In January this year, Machina Research also said it expects to see "quite a shaking out" of the low power wide area (LPWA) space in 2016, with at least one of the major LPWA technologies today effectively "rendered redundant" in 2016.

For more:
- see the Sigfox release
- see Peter Jarich's column in FierceWireless

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