Confirmed: Sigfox U.S. chief out, IoT company misses 2017 network buildout target

Sigfox and its IoT rival Ingenue have seek key executives depart in recent months.

Sigfox, which is building a slow-speed wireless network for IoT applications across the United States, confirmed that its U.S. chief is no longer with the company. Sigfox also confirmed it did not reach its network coverage goals for 2017.

Light Reading first reported that Allen Proithis, who had led Sigfox’s North American operations since 2015, left the company in the last week, following the departure of Spectrum Manager Thomas Schmidt. Proithus had essentially served as the face of the France-based company in North America, participating in panels at industry events and pushing Sigfox’s message through other channels.

Sigfox confirmed the news to FierceWireless.

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“Sigfox has made the decision to part ways with Allen Proithis, president of Sigfox North America. This was a strategic decision made in October 2017 to take Sigfox through the next phase of our evolution in the U.S. market, and there was a transition plan in place for this change,” said Kristi Mason, director of Sigfox’s North American business, via email.

Proithis is the latest high-profile executive to leave an IoT network provider; John Horn, who had served as Ingenu’s CEO, left that company last spring.

Sigfox also said it did not reach the network coverage buildout goals it laid out at the beginning of 2017. “While we did not reach our anticipated 40% population coverage in 2017, we did reach other milestones which we will announce later this month, including network densification in key regions. As with any fast-growth startup, we pivoted to react to customer demands, growing out our network in regions that were less populous, but key to our customers and partners, such as the Permian Basin," Mason wrote.

Sigfox and Ingenu Ingenu are just two of a handful of companies building wireless networks focused on the IoT. Others in the United States include Comcast and Senet, which are building LoRa-powered wireless networks, while Sigfox continues to build out its own slow-speed wireless network in the United States and elsewhere. Meanwhile, AT&T and Verizon are looking to counter the rise of these IoT networks by tweaking their own LTE networks to offer LTE-M services.

There’s no doubt that some IoT use cases call for low-energy, lightweight data transmissions that aren’t necessarily a good fit for the traditional networks that have been built for smartphone- and laptop-toting consumers. But as carriers work to customize their networks and technologies designed for the IoT, companies that provide only LPWAN solutions may be finding the market much more competitive.