Arqiva To Build UK Low-Energy Ultra Narrowband IoT Network


Arqiva aims to reduce the cost and energy use of connected devices with new M2M network

Arqiva is to build a wireless network dedicated to supporting the Internet of Things (IoT) across the UK, claiming it will promote M2M adoption by reducing the cost and energy use of connecting devices.

The communications infrastructure provider has signed a deal with French firm SIGFOX to use its ultra narrowband base station and antenna technology, which are independent of existing cellular networks.

The network will go live in Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Sheffield before expansing, while any devices connected to the network can be used on SIGFOX infrastructure in other countries, including France, the Netherlands and Spain as well as cities such as Moscow and Munich.

Arqiva IoT network

InternetofThings2Arqiva says ultra narrowband technology is suited to connecting objects over long distances where a long battery life and low cost are required, especially since IoT devices don’t tend to require too much bandwidth. It is closer to white space technology than LTE or GSM, but white spaces tend to switch frequencies in order to dodge television and radio broadcasts.

“Our partnership with SIGFOX, and the new dedicated Internet of Things network we are building, will provide nationwide low-power connectivity for the first time,” says Wendy McMillan, managing director of smart metering and M2M solutions at Arqiva.

“Low-power consumption allows batteries and equipment to last longer, avoiding the cost and inconvenience of replacing devices. This massively expands the range of devices that can be connected, increasing the benefits to consumers and businesses alike.”

Arqiva promises that the new network will unlock “substantial” economic benefits and support innovative services for smarter homes and cites. It has been named the preferred bidder by the government to provide smart meters for the north of the UK as part of a wider £12.1 billion nationwide project, and claims its network will connect more than ten million homes.

The firm has also won the contract for the £150 million Mobile Infrastructure Project (MIP), which will improve mobile phone signal in areas where this is no commercial case to do so. It also operates some of the UK’s Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) infrastructure, while it has also moved into Wi-Fi with the £23.4 million acquisition of hotspot provider Spectrum Interactive in 2012.

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