Swedish-backed operator Tele2 AB (Tele2) and the Dutch company Aerea entered into a machine-to-machine/Internet of Things (M2M/IoT) partnership in the Netherlands, making Aerea the exclusive Sigfox network operator for the Netherlands.
The partnership enables IoT services to be provided over the Sigfox network, which complements 2G/3G and 4G solutions. Aerea is a former Intel brand known for its WiMax services in Amsterdam. It no longer focuses solely on WiMax and boasts 85 percent Sigfox network coverage in the Netherlands.
Other Tele2 M2M partners can benefit from the deal as they now have direct access to both Sigfox and cellular M2M solutions, and their customers will benefit through the offering of integrated Sigfox/cellular M2M connectivity solutions, the companies said in a press release.
Sigfox, which was developed in France, is a low-throughput connectivity solution based on antenna and base station infrastructure that is independent of existing telecom networks. The Sigfox network uses ISM ultra-narrowband license-free frequencies (868 MHz in Europe and 902 MHz in the U.S.).
The company met with investors last year in a mission to raise funds to expand its network, including its presence in the San Francisco Bay Area. Founder Ludovic Le Moan told Bloomberg that Sigfox was in talks with carriers in the U.S. to deploy its technology, with hopes of going global within three years. The company also hoped large U.S. contracts would help it ahead of an initial public offering planned for 2016.
As Bloomberg reported, the technology builds on the same radio technology that submarines used to communicate under water during World War I, using a wireless frequency that allows tiny bits of data to travel long distances. Sigfox says its network and patented intellectual property is 100 percent dedicated to fulfilling the needs of low throughput objects on a global basis.
An important advantage of using the narrowband technology is the flexibility it offers in terms of antenna design. On the network infrastructure end it allows the use of small and simple antennas, but more importantly, it allows devices to use inexpensive and easily customizable antennas, according to Sigfox.
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