IoT Strategies

Sigfox 'Only Option' Today, Says Telefónica

Spain's Telefónica has shed some light on its reasons for striking a "global deal" with Internet of Things (IoT) specialist Sigfox earlier this week. (See Telefónica Opens IoT Door to Sigfox .)

Andres Escribano, Telefónica's new IoT connectivity business director, told Light Reading that Telefónica is working with a number of so-called low-power, wide area (LPWA) network technologies but that Sigfox is currently able to meet needs the others cannot.

"Sigfox is the only option available for those use cases that require nationwide deployment [in countries where Sigfox is available]," he said in comments emailed to Light Reading.

LPWA rivals to Sigfox include LoRa, another technology that uses unlicensed spectrum to connect devices, as well as standards backed by the 3GPP, such as NB-IoT and LTE-M.

While NB-IoT has secured strong commitments from Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) and certain other mobile operators, it was not included in the 3GPP's Release 13 until last summer and its commercial rollout has only just begun.

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Asked why Telefónica picked Sigfox over LoRa, which has already been deployed by some of the world's biggest service providers, Escribano referred to Sigfox's device ecosystem and expanding global footprint.

"Sigfox has a network in 31 countries and has created an ecosystem with a lot of vendor devices to offer solutions with competitive prices," he said. "At the moment this is a very good proposal to deliver services to customers quickly."

Escribano also played down suggestions that Telefónica may struggle to generate significant profits from Sigfox-based services given the low average revenue per user on Sigfox networks and Sigfox's onerous revenue-sharing demands.

Sigfox is believed to claim at least 40% of service revenues in return for its technology and network design. (See Sigfox Plans Global IoT Network.)

"Telefónica offers to customers end-to-end solutions, providing all elements in the value chain -- device, connectivity, data management and analytics," said Escribano. "That is all with the quality, guarantee and local support usually offered by Telefónica."

— Iain Morris, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, News Editor, Light Reading

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