Orange, one of the world’s largest telcos with 159 million mobile subscribers – about 25 million in France – has embraced the LoRa low powered wide area network technology for IoT with great enthusiasm, announcing plans for a nationwide network in France.
The move comes at a time when the cellular industry has been working hard to promote enhancements to current 4G technologies to enable them to better support the requirements of IoT, and talking up planned IoT- specific features of 5G.
It is however also backing LPWan technologies. The GSMA recently announced a ‘Mobile IoT Initiative’ aimed at standardising, in licenced spectrum, low power wide area wireless technologies designed specifically for connecting the Internet of Things.
Announcing the move Orange said: “Orange has chosen to invest in a new Low Power Wide Area1 (LPWA) network, a narrow-band technology which guarantees connectivity at a reduced energy consumption rate and at a lower cost.”
It added: “The objects have different connection requirements, which depend on the speeds, criticality and frequency of the information communicated. In order to ensure the development of these uses, Orange has chosen to invest in a range of solutions, to become an operator of the IoT, whatever the objects’ needs and whatever the technology used.”
CEO Stéphane Richard, said: “As a part of our new strategic plan Essentials2020, 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. This network, based on the technology LoRa, will gradually open from the first quarter of 2016.
Orange said it had already tested the LoRa technology by carrying out a large scale trial in Grenoble with more than 30 partners.
The LoRa technology has also been chosen Australian startup, National Narrowband Networks. The company’s cofounder, David Spence told IoT Australia that he expected every one of Australia’s cellular network operators to also deploy a low powered wide area network for IoT.