Sigfox targets China, India and Russia, as global connections sail past six million
Sigfox is looking to add a half a dozen territories to its global footprint by the end of this year, and pass the 70-mark by the end of next. Its top priority in 2019 is to open operations in China, India, and Russia, as soon as possible.
Bertrand Ramé, senior vice president of international operations at Sigfox, told Enterprise IoT Insights the French IoT company remains fixed on its twin strategy to open low-power wide-area (LPWA) networks in new countries and connect IoT devices to them.
Its footprint stands at 54 countries, with nine added so far in 2018. Its 2018 additions are Austria, Guatemala, Honduras, Lichtenstein, Kenya, Norway, Peru, Romania, and Switzerland. Sigfox is in close negotiations with operators to open networks Canada, Indonesia, Poland, and Uruguay, among other countries, before 2018 is out, said Ramé.
“We are in ongoing negotiations to close before Christmas. Some are very advanced; others are more difficult to predict. But we are in very advanced discussions with these,” he said. “Among those, you will find where we should be by early January next year.”
Ramé described China, India, and Russia as “large and difficult” targets.
“But we are already engaged in number of discussions to find right partner to deploy in those countries. If we can achieve these three, we would cover 95 per cent of the world population and 95 per cent of wold GDP. So we would have really completed this first of our expansion strategy,” he said.
At the end of October, at its Sigfox Connect event in Berlin, the company claimed its networks, in 53 countries at the time, had reached one billion people. “It is a big milestone,” said Ramé.
The second part of the company’s expansion strategy, to connect devices, is also ramping up, he said. The company is on track to connect six million ‘things’ by year-end, according to Ramé, in line with its stated target at the start of 2018.
“It is a major increase, which has come as the market had reached the maturity it needs, and as devices have started to become available. Five years ago, it would have been impossible to find a Sigfox device.”
As it stands, Ramé conceded Sigfox has work to do to load traffic onto its networks in the US and Asia, where it was late to deploy, compared with Europe.
“Most connectivity registering on our networks resides in Europe. But this year, there has even great momentum in countries like South Africa, Brazil, Korea, Japan, and Singapore. There are lots of new countries coming on.”
Sigfox selects an exclusive partner in each market, to deploy a national network, and support connections to it. Ramé said it evaluates operator partners based on their experience in network building and management, and ‘go-to-market’ activities, and their financial muscle.
Sigfox expects operators to make money back on their investments in four years, typically.