KPN launches LoRa IoT network


Completed the implementation across the country in less than a year

Today Dutch operator, KPN, has announced it has launched the Netherland’s first LoRa network, which it claimed makes it the first country globally to have such a network for Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

Last November KPN began the network rollout in the cities of Rotterdam and The Hague. These deployments proved so popular that the operator decided to speed up the network rollout from January this year, and it completed the implementation across the country in less than a year.

Joost Farwerck, Chief Operations Officer and member of the Board of Management at KPN, stated that in 2015 the company, “identified an increasing demand for low-power network technology for IoT applications”. He added that the business is responding to that demand, “by choosing LoRa, so millions of devices can be connected to the internet in a cost effective manner”.

Yet LoRa, which is a low power, wide area (LPWA) technology, is one of many that are now competing to dominate the IoT world.  The GSMA is backing the use of three LPWA technologies to accelerate the deployment of commercial IoT products and services, and last week the 3GPP announced that it has completed standardisation of three LPWA technologies within Release 13 (LTE Advanced Pro) specifications: NB-IoT; eMTC; and EC-GSM-IoT.

However, those LPWA IoT technologies in licensed spectrum with 3GPP and GSMA backing are facing competition from unlicensed, proprietary LPWA options, including LoRa and the LoRa Alliance, Sigfox and Ingenu.

KPN equipped hundreds of existing mobile transmission towers across the country with a LoRa gateway and antenna to create the network. KPN claimed it has contracts to connect 1.5 million IoT devices to the new network, and that many are already connected, while numerous proofs of concept were being tested using it.

One example of a test is being run at Schiphol Airport, where LoRa is being tested in logistical processes such as baggage handling and for facility services.

The next stage for KPN over coming months is to condense the network to further optimise it, and to launch a localisation functionality that is, according to KPN, “much-requested” by users and potential users of the new network.


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