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Operators in Korea, Netherlands deploy LoRa networks for IoT

SK Telecom completed nationwide deployment of LoRa network

As global internet of things (IoT) adoptions continue, operators around the world are working to deploy purpose-built networks, using varying technologies including those for a LoRa network.

Korean operator SK Telecom recently completed its nationwide deployment of a low power wide area network (LPWAN) based on LoRa (long range) technology.

The Asian telco finished building LoRaWAN across the country by end of June, six months earlier than its initial schedule.

SK Telecom said that its network covers 99% of the population. The operator said that its nationwide LTE-M and LoRa WAN networks put it in a position to create valuable business opportunities related to IoT. The company completed the rollout of its nationwide LTE-M network infrastructure in March.

In order to promote the growth of the local IoT market, SK Telecom plans to offer attractive price plans and develop IoT services, while offering strong support for SMEs. To achieve this goal, the operator aims to invest a total of KRW 100 billion ($580 million) by the end of next year. The telco expects to connect over 4 million devices to its IoT-dedicated networks by the end of 2017.

“SK Telecom is proud to announce the nationwide deployment of LoRaWAN as it marks the first important step towards realizing connectivity between infinite number of things, going beyond the traditional role of telecommunications centered on connectivity between people,” said Lee Hyung-hee, President of Mobile Network Business at SK Telecom. “Going forward, SK Telecom will develop and offer a wide variety of IoT services designed to offer new value for customers, while working closely with partners including SMEs and startups to vitalize the IoT ecosystem.”

SK Telecom plans to develop services in the areas of metering, tracking and monitoring. In the area of metering, the telco is currently focusing on Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), which enables the utilities companies to not only accurately measure and monitor usage but also control the metering devices. SK Telecom has been conducting a pilot project on AMI since November 2015 and also announced plans to launch AMI services for utilities including water and electricity.

The Korean operator is currently developing a tracking services to identify and track the location of vehicles, people and assets. In cooperation with the local governments, the company plans to launch “Safe Watch,” a wearable designed to enhance the safety of children and the elderly this month.

Moreover, SK Telecom will offer monitoring services capable of controlling and managing manufacturing, public and commercial facilities.

SK Telecom confirmed it plans to launch a total of 20 LoRa-based IoT services by the end of this year, including a manhole monitoring service and a real-time shared parking service.

KPN completes deployment of LoRa network in the Netherlands

In related news, Dutch telecoms operator KPN has also deployed a nationwide LoRa network for Internet of Things (IoT) applications. The operator switched on its first LoRa network equipment last November in Rotterdam and The Hague, and now offers nationwide connectivity.

KPN also said that 1.5 million devices are currently using the network infrastructure across the country.

“Last year we identified an increasing demand for low-power network technology for Internet of Things applications. We are responding to this by choosing LoRa, so millions of devices can be connected to the internet in a cost-effective manner,” KPN’s COO Joost Farwerck said.

KPN and SK Telecom are both members of the LoRa Alliance.

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