Telefonica-Sigfox deal is a big win for diverse IoT networks


The global partnership announced Wednesday between Telefonica and IoT specialist Sigfox could ensure the latter’s long-term success while accelerating the overall growth of LPWANs (low-power, wide-area networks).

Telefonica said it will integrate Sigfox’s energy-sipping, low-data-rate radios into millions of devices used for things like smart metering and asset tracking. The Spain-based mobile carrier operates in 21 countries across Europe and Latin America, so the deal should significantly expand Sigfox’s footprint. It’s talking with customers about possible large-scale rollouts across both regions, including Spain, Germany, Colombia, Argentina, and Brazil.

Wins like this one, announced a week before the wireless industry gathers at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, are important for emerging LPWANs that come from outside the traditional cellular industry built around 2G, 3G, and LTE. While there are now many low-power network choices for companies exploring IoT, not all will survive for the decade or more that IoT deployments are expected to last, Tolaga Research analyst Phil Marshall says.

International or global reach is a key factor for the viability of these fledgling networks. In recent weeks, Nokia, Inmarsat, and others have announced platforms to tie together LPWANs in different countries.

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