UK infrastructure company Arqiva and cellular connectivity provider Sigfox are building a dedicated internet of things networks, initially targeting 10 cities across the UK.
The network will use Sigfox's ultra-narrowband technology, connecting the UK with its global network. Both companies said ultra-narrowband technology is well suited to M2M technology because of its ability to connect devices over long distances with low battery consumption and cost.
Wendy McMillan, Managing Director of Smart Metering and Machine-to-Machine solutions at Arqiva, commented: “We already run satellite, WiFi, and long-range radio networks, providing full managed services where required. Our smart metering communications service, connecting 10 million homes using long-range radio technology, will be one of the UK’s largest machine-to-machine deployments.
“Our partnership with Sigfox, and the new dedicated Internet of Things network we are building, will provide nationwide low-power connectivity for the first time. Low-power consumption allows batteries and equipment to last longer, avoiding the cost and inconvenience of replacing devices. This massively expands the range of devices that can be connected, increasing the benefits to consumers and businesses alike.”
Partner projects will be able to connect to Sigfox networks globally, with infrastructure in place in France, the Netherlands and Spain and in cities including Moscow and Munich.
Rodolphe Baronnet-Frugès, Vice President Network and Business Development of Sigfox, said: “The UK has an active, fast-growing Internet of Things market, and our partnership with Arqiva is a significant part of Sigfox’s plan to establish a global cellular network dedicated to the IoT. According to some forecasts, there will be 50 billion connected devices worldwide by 2020, but for this to become a reality, both cost and energy use will have to come down."
Europe is seen as a crucial player for the future of the M2M market. According to figures from the SIMalliance, the continent helped to boost sales of soldered SIMs, which are used in M2M technology, by 30 percent during the past 12 months.