Orange said it is building a network covering the whole of France specifically for the Internet of Things (IoT), in line with its “ambition to become the number one operator” for this sector.

The company is investing in a so-called Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) network, using LoRa (Long Range) technology. This will deliver connectivity at a reduced energy consumption rate and at a lower cost.

“Orange has an ambition to become the number one operator for the Internet of Things. To answer all the needs, we decided, as a supplement to the cellular networks, to deploy a national network dedicated to objects that need narrow-band connectivity, and also to low energy consumption,” said CEO Stephane Richard.

The network will be operational from the first quarter of 2016 and progressively deployed nationwide, Orange said.

The news comes three months after Orange invested $3 million in French firm Actility, a specialist in low-power wireless networks for IoT.

Actility said at the time that it would use the funds to accelerate its go-to-market strategy for ThingPark, a LPWA radio network built on LoRa technology.  Actility is a LoRa Alliance member, although Orange is not.

Other European operators, including Proximus and KPN, have either deployed, or are committed to deploying, LoRa technology. And the GSMA recently launched its own Mobile IoT project,  designed to address the use of low-power solutions in licensed spectrum.

Since May 2015, Orange has been experimenting with a network based on LoRa technology in the French city of Grenoble, in partnership with around 30 businesses, to test use cases including collecting information from sensors and controlling objects.

Orange validated the interoperability of certain sensor suppliers with its network and its platform, which manages the data from these objects.

Beyond connectivity, Orange will supply its mass market and business customers with services and platforms that are compatible and interoperable with these different networks dedicated to connected objects.