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SK Telecom IoT plans include nationwide LPWA network

SK Telecom said it will invest $84 million over 2 years on IoT plans

SK Telecom bolstered its support for the “Internet of Things,” announcing plans to build a nationwide low-power wide-area network this year, developing IoT-dedicated modules and upgrading its IoT platform. The moves are set to cost the carrier approximately $84 million over the next two years.

SK Telecom claims the nationwide LPWA network will support data over tens of kilometers and enable the continued evolution of IoT products and services. The network is expected to be built to standards through the LoRa Alliance, which SK Telecom joined last year. This long-range radio technology is said to support transmissions up to 22 kilometers when there is no obstruction, and up to 2 kilometers in obstructed environments. LoRa radios transmit at 0.30 to 50 kilobits per second at frequencies between 150 MHz and 1 GHz (usually between 850 MHz and 1 GHz).

The SK Telecom network is set to be monitored by a control center, which will be tasked with real-time monitoring of both the network and all connected devices. SK Telecom said the center will also operate a security diagnosis process “that urges one to follow the security guidelines from the stage of product planning, and measures the security level of the developed or altered system/devices and removes security weaknesses.”

The diagnosis work could be eased by the development of IoT-dedicated modules, with SK Telecom saying it would open the application programming interfaces to third parties, and provide IoT modules for free to startups and small- and mid-sized enterprises. The carrier also plans to upgrade its ThingPlug IoT platform in step with ongoing development work.

SK Telecom said the moves are in line with the South Korean government’s plans to support the IoT market, including a recent decision by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning to allow for increased transmit power of devices in the 900 MHz band from 10 milliwatts to 200 mW.

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