Sigfox Starts IoT Private Network Push

Sigfox is readying its first private wide area network (PAN) to be launched on its proprietary IoT network technology in the first quarter of 2020.

Private network beta trials will start in France early next year before a wider launch, the company says. The move to private networks will take Sigfox's IoT network specification further into competition with private LTE networks.

"Smart home or smart city solution providers will be among the first to benefit from this new offer," says Sigfox CEO Ludovic Le Moan, of the company's PAN offering.

Private LTE networks, run by telecom operators and network suppliers, use dedicated radio equipment to service a customer premises with specific IoT applications and services. For instance, Nokia recently announced that it runs more than 120 private LTE networks worldwide for energy, transportation and smart city customers.

This PAN move comes as the French startup plans to take its wide-area, low-power IoT network global in 2020. The company presently operates in 65 countries worldwide. By the end of 2019, Sigfox claims it will support more than 15 million registered IoT devices (or "objects" as Sigfox calls them) on its network for more than 1,500 customers. Sigfox will complete a global footprint in 2020, thanks to a partnership with satellite company Eutelsat.

The satellite firm will launch a collection of nanosatellites to take the service globally. "This satellite constellation will deliver connectivity across the entire globe, bolstering coverage already provided by Sigfox's network that delivers indoor coverage and high capacity in high-density areas," Sigfox says.

Why this matters
Private LTE IoT networks have -- as per the Nokia announcement -- already started to roll out to enterprise customers, so rival low-power, wide-area network (LPWAN) offerings such as Sigfox are now starting to offer rival IoT private networks to customers. The LoRa (Long Range) Alliance has started to talk about LoRa private networks, and now Sigfox has started on its own network venture.

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— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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