France-based Sigfox is expanding its presence in its domestic market and the UK as the Internet of Things (IoT) specialist further ramps up its global presence.
French mobile operator SFR and parent company Altice plan to deploy Sigfox' proprietary low power wide area (LPWA) network in France as well as in other markets where Altice has operations, including Portugal, the U.S. and Israel.
The move also means that Altice is breaking ranks with rival operators in France: both Orange and Bouygues Telecom have said they plan to deploy low power IoT networks based on the LoRa Alliance's LoRaWAN industry standard.
In the UK, meanwhile, infrastructure specialist Arqiva has formed a partnership with Wireless Logic that will see the machine-to-machine (M2M) service provider become Arqiva's first UK reseller of Sigfox networks. Arqiva first formed a partnership with Sigfox in 2014.
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. In 2016, Sigfox plans to cover more than 30 countries with its network.
Sigfox competes with rival proprietary LPWA network providers including LoRa and U.S.-based Ingenu, which is now building public networks exclusively for machine traffic in markets across the globe based on its random phase multiple access (RPMA) technology.
In future, these proprietary technologies are expected to face competition from the 3GPP standard called narrow band IoT (NB-IoT).
However, operators are clearly not sitting around in the meantime. As highlighted by Altice COO Michel Combes following the Sigfox announcement, operators believe that "the IoT market is an opportunity to seize now, with a global vision."
"We are talking about billions of connections. We share the same entrepreneurial vision with Sigfox and the will to conquer new markets. The availability of the Sigfox network allows us to bring new Internet of Things solutions to our B2B clients," Combes said.
Sean Weir, director for the smart and M2M unit at Arqiva, further noted that the IoT "holds vast potential for businesses" that want to make use of new wireless connectivity technology.
"What we've seen so far however is that IoT clearly needs a far-reaching, low power wide area network to operate across to make this happen -- just like the one we're providing," Weir added.
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