By Joyce Deuley
Earlier this week, French telecommunications giant, Orange, announced its plans to rollout a low power wide area network (LPWAN) to complement its cellular coverage. As a first step, Orange has selected the LoRa platform from Semtech Corporationas the technology of choice. This is all a part of Orange’s Essentials2020 strategy for IoT, which will focus on smart city initiatives and plans to standardize its cellular network to 5G by 2018.
With more than two decades in the business, Orange has maintained its reputation for exceptional service and has realized that narrow band networks can help cover gaps in its offerings through reduced power consumption as well as reduced costs. The Essentials2020 LPWA phase will begin during the first quarter of 2016 to cover all of France’s major cities in various phases, helping to drive innovation and push the country as a whole to become smarter, more flexible and one step closer to being future-proofed—which will come in handy as more connected technologies and infrastructures become integrated with existing systems.
It is interesting to see a carrier embrace LoRa technology as quickly as Orange has, considering that these LPWA technologies have the power to massively disrupt the carrier space. Being able to deploy large-scale network coverage at fractions of the cost of traditional providers has left many telecom giants scrambling to decide just how they’re going to pivot themselves and remain competitive within the changing market.
Stéphane Richard, the CEO of Orange, spoke of Orange’s plans to become the number one operator for the IoT, focusing not only on its legacy offerings, but including connected device technologies, the aggregation and data processing, health services, and, as stated earlier, smart cities. Additionally, Richard stated that in order to meet the requirements for becoming the number one operator, Orange decided to supplement its current networks and “to deploy a national network dedicated to objects that need narrow-band connectivity, and also to low energy consumption” (M2M Magazine).
After a successful trial in Grenoble—Orange is confident that the latest range of services will help its business customers as well as those who seek to jump into the IoT space. Let’s see how it all shakes down early next year.