Spark prepares IoT trials for both LTE Cat-M1 and LoRa

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Image credit: Olyver Whyte / Shutterstock.com

New Zealand telco Spark says it is preparing to commence not one but two IoT network trials this month – one using its LTE network, and the other using low-power wireless access (LPWA) network using LoRa technology.

Spark said it will commence trials of an LTE Cat-M1 network this month, ahead of delivering a commercial network early in 2018. Cat-M1 is one of two 3GPP standards for enabling LTE networks to support IoT connectivity. The other is NB-IoT.

Spark’s General Manager for IoT, Michael Stribling, said the operator is “working with customers on a broad range of use cases for M1”, with examples including vehicle telematics, smart metering, smart health devices and smart city applications such as lighting and environmental monitoring.

Spark’s GM of Networks, Colin Brown, said Spark has been preparing the core network infrastructure to support M1 since July this year. That work builds upon Spark’s experience delivering M2M solutions for a number of years, he said.

Meanwhile, Spark is also finalizing a rollout plan for the commercial launch of its LoRa network, which it has been testing in the industrial and agriculture markets, and expects to release further detail on in the coming weeks.

The LoRa network is intended to complement the LTE Cat M1 offering, said Stribling. “Already as we talk with customers we can see different uses for different IoT networks emerging, so it makes sense to provide multiple networks to answer the multiple needs of New Zealand organizations.”

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