Samsung was revealed as the network partner for SK Telecom’s previously announced Internet of Things (IoT) network based on Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) technology LoRa.
Samsung talked up the deal as being the “world’s first commercial IoT-dedicated nationwide LoRaWAN network”.
The service is scheduled to launch in Daegu next month and will be available nationwide by the middle of this year in the 900MHz frequency band.
Daegu, Korea’s fourth largest city, will serve as a test bed for the network, where Samsung will focus on “setting up and adopting infrastructure for renewable energy solutions, cloud platforms and big data analytics of healthcare and medical services, as well as electric vehicle infrastructure for autonomous cars”.
An LPWA network is designed to support communication among IoT devices as it can transmit data over tens of kilometres while consuming much less power.
In March the operator, with a 49 per cent market share, said it will invest more than KRW100 billion ($84 million) in IoT projects over the next two years. It also will develop IoT-dedicated modules and set up an IoT control centre.
Samsung’s support of LoRa technology is significant as most cellular network vendors are backing a forthcoming 3GPP standard for LPWA called NB-IoT.
And the majority of mobile operators are also holding out for NB-IoT technology in order to support low power IoT devices. SK Telecom is one of those operators bucking the trend, joining Bouygues, KPN, Orange and Swisscom in their early support of LoRa. In fact, SK Telecom will face competition in its claim to be a nationwide world-first as both KPN in the Netherlands and Switzerland’s Swisscom promise similar timeframes for their own deployments.
Last week, Orange pledged further support to the unlicensed spectrum tech, becoming a board member of the LoRa Alliance.
LoRa is also competing against other proprietary LPWA technologies such as Ingenu and Sigfox.