T-Mobile and SimpleCell Networks (formerly Blue Cell Networks) have decided to jointly cover the Czech Republic with a SIGFOX network for the Internet of Things. The decision was made on the basis of a successful pilot operation that was conducted from June to August this year.
The two organisations believe coverage of the entire Czech Republic can be achieved with a minimal number of 350 base stations by the end of 2016. In the first half of next year, both partners intend to launch SIGFOX in selected regions and start selling solutions that do not require full nation-wide coverage.
“The Internet of Things is a phenomenon of the future. It is estimated that approximately 200 billion devices should be connected within five years,” said Milan Vašina, T-Mobile’s managing director, adding: “T-Mobile wants to focus on this area and the first important step is nation-wide coverage with a network dedicated specifically for the Internet of Things.”
During the pilot operation, T-Mobile and SimpleCell Networks tested the technological and practical possibilities of the SIGFOX solution, particularly the quality of base-station coverage and transmission of signal to buildings.
The two firms report that the results of the tests exceeded expectations: they showed line-of-sight propagation at a very long distance (up to 120 kilometres), very good transmission of signal to buildings and high reliability of message delivery even under poor radio conditions where an area was covered by several base stations.
Messages were usually delivered in one second. The pilot operation also proved high resistance to signal interference, as well as seamless installation and activation of base stations. The tests involved the areas of security, logistics, utilities and Smart Cities.
SIGFOX uses a UNB (Ultra Narrow Band) based radio technology to connect devices to its global network. It argues that the use of UNB is key to providing a ‘scalable, high-capacity network, with very low energy consumption, while maintaining a simple and easy to rollout star-based cell infrastructure’.
The network operates in the globally available ISM bands (license-free frequency bands) and co-exists in these frequencies with other radio technologies, but, it asserts, without any risk of collisions or capacity problems.
SIGFOX currently uses the most popular European ISM band on 868MHz (as defined by ETSI and CEPT) as well as the 902MHz in the USA (as defined by the FCC), depending on specific regional regulations.
SIGFOX is installed on standard mobile base stations and allows economical and energy-efficient transmission of small data volumes over long distances. This removes barriers to broad implementation of IoT and M2M solutions and significantly extends the battery life as well as the service life of connected devices.
The global SIGFOX network is being expanded by means of the SIGFOX Network Operator™ partnership program, which currently covers more than 1 million square kilometres. The company is based in Labège, France, has an office in Paris and branches in San Francisco and Madrid.