Senet to ‘maintain our leadership position’ in LoRa for IoT, despite Comcast’s entry into market

A top executive for Internet of Things network vendor Senet said the company is pleased that Comcast is planning to enter the space with its own wireless network for the IoT. He added, though, that Senet is not concerned about Comcast overtaking it anytime soon.

“We think that in general we’ll continue to maintain our leadership position in terms of nationwide coverage and ongoing applications support,” Will Yapp, Senet’s vice president of business development and marketing, told FierceWirelessTech.

Yapp’s comments are in response to Comcast’s announcement earlier this month that it would partner with Semtech on a trial of LoRa network technology in an effort to provide IoT offerings to businesses. The trials will launch in Philadelphia and San Francisco later this year and will focus on uses such as utility metering, environmental monitoring and asset tracking.

LoRa is a low-power, wide-area network (LPWAN) technology designed specifically for IoT scenarios, enabling slow-speed, long-range and low-power wireless connections for water monitors and other IoT gadgets. Such offerings are beginning to gain traction in the IoT as traditional carriers and their partners hammer out standards for LTE-based technologies.

Comcast said that if its LoRa trials are successful, it plans to commercially deploy LoRa networks and services across its markets under the brand name machineQ, with the goal of completing those buildouts within 18 to 30 months. 

However, Senet’s Yapp said his company likely will be much further along on its LoRa network deployment plans in the United States. “Even if they [Comcast] were to meet the full potential of the press release that they talked about, they’ll only be in 30 metro areas at the end of a three-year period,” Yapp said. “In three years from now, we’ll be probably almost everywhere in the U.S. We’re already in 220 cities, with the most recent announcement, and probably 20 major metropolitan areas. And that’s going to keep expanding. So even if they [Comcast] were to make a choice at the beginning or middle of next year that they wanted to go forward, by the time they reach the end of a three-year period, we would be triple to quadruple or maybe even more their size of coverage for LoRa LP-WAN.”

Indeed, Senet this week announced that its LoRa network recently expanded to an 10 additional major metropolitan areas of the U.S., including Los Angeles, New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, Seattle, San Diego, Atlanta and Denver. With this announcement Senet now has a presence in a total of 225 cities and 23 states covering a population of nearly 50 million people, the company said.

Nonetheless, Yapp said Comcast’s entry into the space was a positive for Senet and other LoRa players. “Them jumping in is very exciting to us because it further validates LoRa as a standard for low-power, wide-area networking opportunities and IoT in general,” Yapp said. “We’re just super thrilled that another big name is jumping into the LoRa space, because that validates our approach and strategy.”

LoRa is an IoT wireless network technology backed by the LoRa Alliance. Orange, SK Telecom, and other operators are in the process of deploying LoRa networks in various parts of the world.