BICS pens IoT deal with Avnet Silica

Belgium-based BICS, a mobile-roaming middleman (but prefers the tag of "international communications enabler"), has forged a partnership with Avnet Silica, a semiconductor specialist and division of Avnet, a tech company.

The idea is to accelerate IoT deployment by making it easier for hardware manufacturers to get devices out into the market that have cross-border reach – and perhaps, in the process, help spur the rollout of low-power wide-area networks (LPWANs), such as NB IoT and LTE-M.

Under the arrangement, Avnet Silica can deliver IoT connectivity – using BICS' worldwide network and "SIM for Things" solution, which covers both cellular networks and LPWANs – to OEMs and its IoT partners.

With the help of eUICC (Embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Card) technology, BICS says Avnet Silica's customers will be able to connect their IoT devices to more than 700 mobile operators around the world, and "easily switch networks depending on quality and coverage."

It is not clear how many of the some 700 mobile operators have rolled out LPWANs, but BICS claims it has partnered with an "increasing number" of mobile operators to support M2M connectivity, so allowing NB-IoT/LTE-M connectivity in more than 30 countries.

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"[Hardware] manufacturers can quickly benefit from NB-IoT/LTE-M technology, which lowers power consumption, eases provisioning, and creates new commercial opportunities," said Guillaume Crinon, global IoT strategy manager at Avnet.

IoT is part of BICS diversification strategy as it seeks to offset sharp losses in its voice business, which still forms the bulk of its turnover. (See Reinvention may steel BICS for COVID-19.)

Other possible avenues of growth explored by BICS include cloud communications, application-to-person messaging, and fraud prevention by analyzing traffic patterns over its network.

— Ken Wieland, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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