Startup Helium has more than doubled the number of $495 hotspots in its DIY network in the US since November last year, with 3,025 of these IoT gateways now installed across more than 425 US cities.
Just over 3,000 hotspots may not seem like a dramatic installed base, but these LoRa-based transceivers have a range that is far greater than either WiFi, or even some 5G basestations and small cells. Helium, which is funded to the tune of $51 million, claims that its hotspot can cover a mile or more in urban areas, or 10 miles and up in more rural locales.
That means that relatively few hotspots will be needed to cover towns and cities in the US. For instance, Kyle Samani, managing partner of Multicoin Capital, which co-led a $15 million investment round in Helium in June, stated that fewer than 200 hotspots are enough to cover the 2.2 million people living across more than 500 square miles in the greater Austin, Texas, area.
Helium hasn't said yet if any US cities are covered, but clearly with 287 hotspots already deployed in the Austin area, 206 in downtown Manhattan, New York, and a whopping 759 gateways in the greater San Francisco area, the coverage opportunities are swiftly being filled up in some large metro areas.
As Light Reading has noted before, Helium supports a user-built network, where hotspot owners earn cryptocurrency for deploying the infrastructure and managing communications over their part of the network. It is a rival to cellular IoT efforts and other low power wide area (LPWA) networks being deployed by carriers and corporations in the US.
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— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading