LIVE FROM LPWA 2016 EVENT, AMSTERDAM: India’s Tata Communications launched the country’s first low power wide area (LPWA) network across three major cities, targeting growth to more than 1,900 cities and an international launch within two years.
The service provider, part of business conglomerate Tata Group, deployed LoRa technology in unlicensed spectrum and claims to have 35 proof of concept (PoC) services up and running across Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai.
“We’ll have 45 million people covered by the end of June,” said Eric Torres, VP – New Ventures, Tata Communications. “This gives us a huge critical mass of people for testing.”
The 35 use cases cover a wide array of services, from a first safety worker wearable smartwatch (being used by miners), through to remote air conditioning monitoring and safety deposit box monitoring.
Torres said ten of the PoC applications are in asset management, nine are focused on asset tracking, three in human safety/emergency services, and five are based on the area of energy management. The rest are based on smart city applications.
Each use case is claimed as having a potential market volume of between “100,000 devices to several million”. Intriguingly, Torres said one use case has a potential target market of up to 200 million, but he wouldn’t reveal details.
Taking a swipe at cellular technology NB-IoT, ratified as a standard this month and a major talking point at the opening day of the event, Torres pointed out that 21 of its PoC services would not be possible if based on SIM card technology.
“We haven’t heard anything today that justifies NB-IoT, we can do it all with LoRa,” he remarked.
Commenting on the company’s ambitious growth targets for the LoRa network, Torres said the 1,900 cities within two years would give it a coverage area of 400 million people.
And on its international plans, he said Tata will act as a service provider, not an operator, to local carriers, “providing a smart and quick package”.