Spark to trial LTE IoT network

Tuesday, 07 November, 2017

A nationwide LTE Internet of Things (IoT) network will be trialled by Spark, alongside a LoRa low-power network.

The LTE Cat-M1 (M1) network trial will take place during November on Spark’s core 4G network in New Zealand.

“M1 is a secure, high-quality network, ideal where sensors and devices are transferring large amounts of data regularly and real-time access to that data is critical,” said Spark’s general manager for IoT, Michael Stribling.

“We’re working with customers on a broad range of use cases for M1, driven by its nationwide coverage and high performance. Great examples include vehicle telematics, smart metering, smart health devices and smart cities applications such as lighting and environmental monitoring.”

Spark’s general manager for networks, Colin Brown, said since announcing plans to be New Zealand’s enabler of IoT in July, Spark has been preparing the core network infrastructure that its M1 network will run on. This work builds upon Spark’s extensive experience delivering machine-to-machine (M2M) IoT solutions for a number of years.

“M1 enables machines to communicate effectively over 4G wireless technology, so we’ve continued to build on the $383 million of network investment made over the past year, progressing both our 4G and future-focused 4.5G capabilities,” he said.

“Customers will be able to leverage this to offer new and competitive products powered by a network that’s been purpose-built to support a wide range of uses — including mobile, wireless broadband and now IoT. We’re confident New Zealand will be well-set for future growth in this technology.”

Spark is progressing a dual-network strategy for IoT. To complement M1, it is finalising a rollout plan for the commercial launch of its low-power LoRa network, which it has been testing in the industrial and agriculture markets and expects to release further detail on in the coming weeks. This strategy involving both M1 and LoRa is consistent with the path of many European, Asian and US telecommunications companies.

“Already as we talk with customers we can see different uses for different IoT networks emerging,” said Stribling.

“So it makes sense to provide multiple networks to answer the multiple needs of New Zealand organisations.”

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