LoRaWAN 100-club claims 60% growth, tech ‘superiority’; stokes battle with Sigfox
The number of LoRaWAN network operators jumped by more than 60 per cent in 2018, according to the LoRa Alliance. It said its global operator count stands at more than 100, as of the end of December. These include operators of both private and public LoRaWAN networks.
Rival firm Sigfox suggested in an article in Enterprise IoT Insights last week that it is distinguished as a publicly available IoT technology. But the LoRa Alliance made a show in its latest announcement of public LoRaWAN network operationswith the likes Orange, Comcast, KPN and Swisscom, among others.
The LoRa Alliance said its flexibility as both a public and private LPWA technology is a “unique differentiator… compared with other LPWAN technologies”.
The number of end-devices connected to LoRaWAN networks has tripled since the beginning of the year, it said. This shows “significant acceleration of adoption compared with other technologies yet to achieve such an expansive footprint,” it commented.
Donna Moore, chief executive and chairwoman of the LoRa Alliance, called it a “major achievement”. She said: “Only LoRaWAN has strong, established networks with broad coverage areas, while also offering the private network option.”
The suggestion is the LoRa community is beating Sigfox at its own game, as a public IoT service, and also offering large enterprises the opportunity to build and manager their own private LPWA networks, as preferred.
“For companies looking to launch IoT products and solutions today, the LoRaWAN standard is the only viable solution,” continued Moore.
The ability for device makers and service providers to perform over-the-air firmware (FOTA) updates on LoRaWAN networks is unique, she said. The technology’s open specification helps with certification and interoperability.
“These benefits give confidence to the market that companies are future-proofed and can deploy solutions today with assurance they will work in the future.”
The Asia-Pacific and European regions have showed the most growth in 2018, at 30 per cent and 50 per cent, respectively. Deployments continue, said Moore, showing the market’s commitment to the LoRa standard.
The international LoRaWAN operator community was mob-handed in its support of the announcement. In France, Orange said its LoRaWAN network covers around 30,000 municipalities and 95 per cent of the country’s “metropolitan” population. Its support has been consistent, despite its inclination towards licensed LTE equivalents.
The company selected the technology for its first IoT network in 2016, its Slovakian unit launched a service for smart city applications last year, and it has just launched on-premise LoRaWAN for international customers a range of monitoring solutions.
In Brazil, American Tower is covering the metro areas of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte with LoRaWAN, an area it said is worth 24 per cent of the Brazilian GDP. American Tower wants to cover 80 cities and 50 per cent of GDP by mid-2019.
Meanwhile, Senet used the press notice to claim its cloud platforms are being used for “the largest public carrier-grade LoRaWAN network in North America”, as well as to deliver IoT coverage in at least 80 other countries. It reiterated points about the technology’s “open ecosystem and technical superiority”.
India based SenRa told of “interest and growth” in India, with LoRaWAN coverage in 30 cities, and building momentum.
Swisscom’s LoRaWAN network covers 96.6 per cent of the Swiss population, it said. The likes of Germany-based Minol Zenner Group, Belgium-based Proximus Group, and France-based Bouygues Telecom also chimed in.
Wienke Giezeman, chief and co-founder of do-it-yourself IoT group The Things Network, proclaimed LoRa as a global resource. “The LoRaWAN internet of things, just like the real internet, doesn’t care about country borders,” he said. The Things Network connects private LoRaWAN operations in 89 countries.
Semtech said last month interest in the technology had gone beyond the energy market, where it gained early LPWA share. “It shows the interest– that it’s not just about metering and utilities, anymore. The technology is enabling other use cases – in smart buildings, smart cities, logistics and asset tracking, agriculture,” the company told Enterprise IoT Insights.
A report by ON World, in April, said LoRa and Sigfox make up the lion’s share – as much as two thirds, 10 months ago – of IoT networks today. A third of the total network deployments are geared towards smart city applications, the report found.
But their licensed equivalents, including NB-IoT and LTE-M, are gaining ground, fast. On World predicted NB-IoT “network operator activity” would grow, from a standing start, by 1,800 per cent in 2018.
The LoRa Alliance said this time last year there had been more than 100 per cent growth in the number of public LoRaWAN networks in 2017, from 31 live networks to 67, as well as 60 per cent growth in alliance membership, which stands at 525.