Orange expands IoT coverage in Europe
Orange said new infrastructure will enable nationwide NB-IoT and LTE-M services in Belgium
Orange Belgium announced that its new internet of things (IoT) network has reached full coverage to support the massive deployment of IoT solutions across the country.
Orange announced the availability of narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) and LTE-M technologies on the whole Belgian territory, reaching nationwide coverage both indoors and outdoors.
“The choice for mobile IoT technologies is future-proof as it is fully consistent with the future evolution towards 5G. It will then be possible to connect objects that require very high reliability such as the remote control of critical devices and automation processes,” Gabriel Flichy, CTO of Orange Belgium, said. “Today we are already using our mobile IoT network together with the Flemish government for a project with connected bikes in collaboration with our partners Huawei and Sensinxs. IMEC is also testing a smart plug project as part of Antwerp’s City of Things program and we have teamed up with CommuniThings for smart parking solutions. We invite all application developers, system integrators and early adopters to test the advantages of Orange mobile IoT network.”
The Belgian telco said that the mobile IoT technologies bring a different approach to LPWA technologies. Apart from the extended battery life and the minimal cost of the radio modules, NB-IoT and LTE-M also enable full bidirectional communication between the object and the network allowing firmware software updates over the air. Orange also highlighted that these technologies also have the best possible mobile coverage considerably improving signal penetration inside buildings.
Orange Belgium, part of French telecommunications group Orange, currently has over 3 million subscribers in the Belgian market.
Orange Business Services has been accelerating its LTE-M strategy to support the development of IoT solutions for the enterprise market in Europe. In February 2017, the French telecom group said it would be prioritize deployment of LTE-M across its footprint in Europe.
In Spain, Orange has started several tests of LTE-M technology with strategic customers and device manufacturers. The trials cover different sectors and applications, including smart utilities, smart cities and facility management.
In France, the telco is planning internal trials on both technical and usage aspects starting this quarter. Orange Business Services said all of these trials are being carried out ahead of the LTE-M network launch in 2018.
The first equipment Orange has tested on its LTE-M network includes rugged products designed to be used in asset tracking and Industry 4.0-type use cases; a GPS personal tracker with a waterproof casing that is targeted at lone worker applications; and a small GPS tracker developed for tracking valuable items.
By mid-2017, Orange had reached close to 4,000 towns and industrial sites across France with its LoRa technology. At that time, the telco said it expected to reach national coverage by the end of 2017.
The French telco also said that over than 100 customers of Orange Business Services had already chosen the LoRaWAN connectivity solution in various business sectors, intelligent communities, smart homes, health, industry and agriculture, for uses including smart buildings, connected parking garages, patient home monitoring, the supply chain and geolocation.