Spark switches on second IoT network

27 Sep 2018

New Zealand incumbent carrier Spark switched on a low power wide area (LPWA) IoT network using LTE Cat-M1 technology on Monday.

The network, running in the 700-MHz and 1800-MHz bands, is now available in major centers and will be rolled out across the rest of the country over the next six months.

The LTE Cat-M1 network is Spark’s second IoT network. Spark already has a LoRaWAN network for IoT applications, which now provides coverage to over 120 cities across the country and all major urban centers.

Spark said the rollout of the LTE Cat-M1 network will connect a wide variety of new and existing IoT solutions and services including wearables, smart appliances, electricity, gas and water meters, asset monitoring, and industrial automation.

Specifically, LTE Cat-M1 is best suited for LPWAN applications like smart metering, in which only small amount of data transfer is required. The network rollout will also enable IoT technologies like smart cities and connected cars from overseas to be adopted in New Zealand, said Michael Stribling, Spark’s digital services lead.

“LTE Cat-M1 is a secure, high-quality network, where sensors and devices are transferring data regularly and near real-time access to that data is critical,” he said.

Spark said Landis+Gyr is using the new IoT network for a progressive rollout of smart metering services in New Zealand.

Landis+Gyr was the first in Australia to develop and demonstrate smart metering over the NB-IoT network, which is being used in their smart meter and communication modules.

The company already had smart metering solutions in New Zealand and opted to switch to Spark’s IoT network to take advantage of its broader coverage.

Rodney Chaplin, Landis+Gyr’s general manager of Australia and New Zealand, said rolling out smart metering over the new network will provide a robust solution for customers.

“Landis+Gyr meters fitted with our flexible and modular communication modules are perfectly suited to take advantage of 4G networks with LTE-Cat M1 technology,” Chaplin said. “This allows us to get to market quickly and provide utilities with a robust coverage to ensure the success of the smart metering rollout.”

Stribling said Spark is also working with customers on a broad range of use cases for IoT applications, including vehicle telematics, smart health devices and smart cities applications such as lighting and environmental monitoring.

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