Bouygues Telecom has launched what it describes as France's first Internet of Things (IoT) network based on Long Range (LoRa) technology and designed to connect all manner of devices and "objects" to the Internet.
The operator, which is a founding member of the LoRa alliance announced at this year's CES trade fair in Las Vegas, said it is the first French operator to commercially roll out LoRa technology.
The network will be opened in June in Issy-les-Moulineaux and an area of Paris. From the end of the year, the IoT network will cover around 500 towns and cities.
Bouygues Telecom has been testing LoRa technology in Grenoble over the past 16 months together with its international partners (Semtech, Sagemcom, Eolane, Adeunis and Kerlink) and several major industrial customers.
Developed by the French company Cycleo, LoRa is a low-power wide-area (LPWA) technology that enables smart devices to share small packets of data, with autonomy of up to 10 years with standard batteries.
"The Internet of Things is going to transform entire areas of our economy. Thanks to the expertise and the infrastructures of Bouygues Telecom, we will be able to quickly offer nationwide coverage with a high-quality service," said Olivier Roussat, chairman and CEO of Bouygues Telecom.
Bouygues Telecom said LoRa has unique properties that make it "the most advanced technology of its kind in the IoT field, enabling it to be deployed for a wide range of activities and uses," including the enablement of smart cities; smart metering; tracking of vehicles, people and animals; eHealth; commerce and more.
The French company's efforts to steal a march on its rivals in the much-hyped IoT field comes as it seeks to reinvent itself to maintain a competitive position in a market of four players.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Martin Bouygues, the head of the Bouygues Group, was in combative mood, saying his challenge is "to walk tall out of this crisis".
At the same time, analysts from Jefferies noted that the company is now giving its turnaround another year, after Bouygues Group conceded that operating free cashflow from its telecoms business would turn negative in 2015.
The analysts added that "notwithstanding Bouygues' tough talking, the logic for consolidation remains compelling," citing the bleak standalone prospects for Bouygues Telecom, the costs associated with securing 700 MHz frequencies during the auction in December, and "diminishing synergy value" as Iliad continued to build out its mobile network in France.
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