HomeEdgeSwisscom partners Echostar for pan-European IoT service 

    Swisscom partners Echostar for pan-European IoT service 


    Telco expands its LoRaWAN IoT footprint across Europe, initially via EchoStar’s XXI satellite

    Swisscom has partnered EchoStar Mobile and French LPWAN specialist Actility to expand its LoRaWAN IoT footprint across Europe. EchoStar Mobile will provide capacity to support direct sensor-to-satellite operations, and Actility will provide interworking functions between Swisscom’s terrestrial and EchoStar Mobile’s satellite network to enable seamless network roaming through Actility’s ThingPark Exchange roaming hub.  

    Prior to working with EchoStar Mobile, Swisscom relied on terrestrial connectivity to provide IoT managed solutions for smart metering, environmental monitoring, tracking, agriculture, and smart building use cases. EchoStar Mobile will now be providing Swisscom with “multi-year IoT satellite connectivity services”. 

    “Satellite connectivity serves as a powerful complement to our terrestrial LoRaWAN network, enabling the connection of IoT devices abroad and also in economically challenging rural areas,” said Swisscom head of connected business solutions Fredy Portmann.  

    “Through the seamless integration of EchoStar connectivity into our Swisscom Connectivity Management Platform, we empower our customers to roll out devices and experience a truly borderless IoT connectivity. This dynamic synergy expands the reach of our network, unlocking unprecedented opportunities for businesses in a seamlessly connected world,” he added.  

    EchoStar Mobile offers LoRa coverage across Europe, the UK, and Scandinavia for massive IoT, providing LoRa compatible access to customers’ IoT devices via its EchoStar XXI satellite. IoT sensors such as temperature, humidity, flow, current and GPS tracking devices, send data to an EchoStar Mobile LoRa® module. The module then uses licensed S-band to send the data to its satellite. From there, it is sent to the Internet via a satellite gateway Earth station and a LoRa compatible network infrastructure.  

    EchoStar XXI features advanced beam forming that provides a high quality service in focused geographic areas. The satellite has an uplink and downlink capacity of 100 Mbps. Combining this large bandwidth with high beam power means a very strong signal is received on the ground, according to the company. In addition, because of the sensitivity of the LoRa protocol, which is very close to the noise floor, about minus 20 dB, the network achieves “excellent” performance with small antennas on the modules.  

    The very low sensitivity of LoRa means the EchoStar Mobile solution can receive signals in conditions where traditional ISM services would struggle to work. The antenna frequency is also tuned to collect the minimal amount of noise, allowing very efficient reception of the ground signals at the satellite. 

    EchoStar also uses LoRa Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum [LR-FHSS]. Developed by Semtech, LR-FHSS allows direct to satellite data links from IoT devices with greater reliability, higher performance, and lower power consumption. 

    “EchoStar Mobile has the unique combination of technology expertise and satellite capacity to help Swisscom expand its LoRaWAN IoT footprint across Europe – serving customers across more verticals and geographies,” said EchoStar Mobile VP and GM Telemaco Melia. “With these new capabilities, Swisscom customers will be able to access the full, borderless potential of connected IoT ecosystems at scale.” 

    “Across the industry, LPWAN network operators trust our ThingPark Exchange roaming hub to help them easily interconnect with the other public, private, and community networks,” said Actility CTO Alper Yegin.  

    GEO to LEO 

    Last July, EchoStar Corporation – the parent of the Irish-based operator – signed multi-year commercial agreements with seven European IoT service providers to sell solutions using its pan-European, satellite-based, LoRa-enabled network. The providers included API-K, Cyric, DalesLandNet, Dryad, Galaxy1, ProEsys and Symes.  

    However, Echostar has been very silent this year around the 28-bird constellation of low Earth orbit (LEO) IoT satellites, called EchoStar Lyra, it is meant to be launching this year to create a global non-terrestrial 5G network in the S-band.   

     Echostar has a jump on some IoT satellite providers through an obscure acquisition it made spanning Canada and Australia. In 2019, it acquired Vancouver-headquartered satellite IoT company Helios Wire Corporation, which brought with it Helios’s Australian subsidiaries Sirion Global and Sirion Holdings. Sirion Global held global spectrum rights for S-band mobile satellite services (MSS), administered by Australia through its regulator the Australian Communications and Media Authority – the so-called the ITU SIRION-1 satellite filing. 

    Despite objections from regulatory authorities, including the UK and Papua New Guinea, Helios gained the rights to 30MHz of S-band spectrum in 2013, originally allocated to failed medium-earth orbit satellite venture ICO Global Communications. Lyra will be fully compatible with EchoStar’s existing XXI satellite in Europe, giving Swisscom and other partners even more options.