Sigfox announced plans to expand its U.S. operations in a big way, vowing to deploy its IoT network in 100 cities across America this year. The move could create additional challenges for AT&T and Verizon as they work to sell IoT services through their LTE networks.
Based in France, Sigfox offers a 902 MHz network designed to provide low-cost, slow-speed wireless services to companies looking to leverage the IoT. The company reported in February it was on track to cover the 10 biggest cities in the U.S., but said this morning that it will step up those efforts to meet strong demand.
Sigfox said it has partnered with "multiple site owners" in the U.S., giving it access to more than 230,000 sites across the country including tower, rooftop and billboard locations.
"The U.S. is a huge growth market for Internet of Things connectivity, especially in smart cities, utilities, shipping and agriculture sectors that require large-scale and cost-effective communication," said Allen Proithis, president of Sigfox North America. "Our partnerships with these site owners enables Sigfox to leverage existing sites to rapidly deploy our out-of-the-box connectivity solution in the U.S. market. Sigfox's low-cost Internet of Things connectivity complements cellular networks, and allows billions of additional devices to participate in the benefits of IoT."
The French startup broadcasts its signal through briefcase-sized base stations covering 20-30 kilometers working in unlicensed spectrum (backhauled with DSL, satellite or 3G networks) to receivers that cost just a few dollars today. The company predicted the cost of those receivers would fall to just $0.50 by the end of this year.
Sigfox several weeks ago unveiled a partnership to integrate its proprietary technology with Altice, a French telecom and media group with a broad global footprint. Altice in the United States owns Suddenlink and appears close to closing a separate acquisition of Cablevision. Sigfox also recently expanded recently into South America with an ongoing deployment in Brazil.
As Sigfox noted in its announcement, IDC predicts that North America will be the third-largest IoT market in terms of both installed units (with 7.5 billion) and revenue (generating $1.9 trillion). The burgeoning market has quickly become a battleground between traditional cellular carriers -- like Verizon and its deployment of LTE Cat 0 for the IoT -- and smaller vendors of proprietary networks such as Sigfox, Ingenu and LoRa, who claim they can meet the needs of IoT devices more effectively and efficiently.
- see this Sigfox press release
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