Thailand state-owned telecoms service provider CAT Telecom has signed a deal with SK Telecom to deploy IoT networks in the country.
Under the terms of the contract, SK Telecom, which is South Korea’s largest wireless network provider, will work with CAT to deploy LoRa-based IoT networks in central areas of Bangkok, as well as the entire area of Phuket. The network will go live in April this year.
The companies will join forces to launch a LoRa-based vehicle location tracking service in Phuket, and then roll out further IoT services such as smart metering and smart street lighting services.
Phuket is the Thai government’s first smart city project, and it is therefore keen to make strides in transforming the island as quickly as possible.
The two telecoms firms will also roll out LoRAWAN in central areas of Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. This will include an IoT-based location tracking service for tourists to prevent people – especially children and the elderly – from going missing near the Grand Palace, where mourners visit to pay their respects to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Rob Bamforth, principal analyst at Quocirca believes that the LoRa network is a good fit for mass deployment in a territory where there is little existing infrastructure – whether that is through being geographically difficult to cover, or because it is an emerging economy.
“For these reasons it can work well where there is an existing appetite for smarter cities because of the speed of technology adoption and change – in parts of Asia for example, or where there is an appetite for infrastructure where it has previously been lacking such as parts of Africa,” he said.
The deployment of a LoRa network, or similar networks can challenge the network operators’ notions of margins and revenues.
“It’s no longer about the minutes or megabytes, but the purpose for which the data is being consumed,” said Bamforth.
“The revenues will be small per transaction and so achieving mass scale and delivering business value is the goal – another reason to push harder to achieve this as a whole country rather than partial coverage,” he added.
SK Telecom launched a nationwide IoT network in South Korea last year, offering a service of 100MB of data per month for $1.75.