Global communications service provider Sigfox is partnering with WND-UK, an IoT network deployment company, to extend the coverage of its IoT network in the UK to 95 percent.
The Sigfox network already covers 30 percent of the UK population, thanks to its partnership with infrastructure and media services provider Arqiva. It has had a presence in the UK since 2014, with its network deployed in 11 major cities that include Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Sheffield.
Sigfox calls its partners who handle the local distribution of its IoT network ‘Sigfox Operators’ (or SOs), and WND-UK will now join Arqiva as an SO. While Arqiva will continue to deliver IoT connectivity in the country’s most populated urban areas, WND-UK will deploy, operate and maintain a national network, as well as develop Sigfox’s existing services. Both networks will be interoperable for Arqiva and WND-UK’s customers and will enable new applications in areas such as smart logistics, asset tracking and facilities management, according to Sigfox.
WND-UK is a subsidiary of WND, which is already a Sigfox partner of in Latin America, where it delivers connectivity in Brazil, Mexico and Colombia, while it is scheduled to launch in Argentina shortly.
Meanwhile, the UK branch has already begun its deployment, and Sigfox claims that it is on track to reach up to 95 percent of the UK population by 2019. Since the launch of its UK operation in March 2017, the company says it has installed 50 base stations, already providing coverage to nearly a third of the UK’s population.
This may seem like an ambitious target, considering that 4G availability isn’t yet available across the whole of the UK. But Ian Hughes, an IoT analyst at IT advisory company 451 Research believes that IoT network providers like Sigfox will find it easier to achieve coverage with a low-bandwidth and low-power network than with high-power, high-bandwidth services such as 4G.
“The base stations are simpler to deploy and integrate with the rest of the existing low-power network with no difficult configuration, which is very different to installing a traditional mobile cell,” he said.
“The profile of devices connecting to these low-power networks deliver only small packets of information, which are more likely to get through any interference intact than something like a large video stream.
“These new networks disrupt the traditional telecoms companies’ approaches, though they too are investing in their own such as NB-IoT, as we move toward the more radical evolution of networks with 5G,” he added.
Last month, Thinxtra, an IoT specialist that operates the Sigfox IoT network in Australia and New Zealand, announced details of two new projects that it is working on in the region, including a joint venture with Tasmania-based telco Tasmanet to build a dedicated IoT network that would cover 95 percent of the island state’s population before the end of 2017.