Samsung joins race to deploy nationwide IoT-dedicated network

The company is teaming up with SK Telecom to deploy a LoRa-based network across South Korea by the middle of this year.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

Seeking to secure a dominant position in the burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT) market, Samsung announced Tuesday that it's teaming up with SK Telecom to deploy a nationwide IoT-dedicated network in South Korea by the middle of this year.

The network will use the LoRa wireless networking standard, and Samsung says this will make it the first IoT-dedicated LoRaWAN network ever deployed on a national scale. LoRaWAN IoT networks use an unlicensed, public spectrum called the Industrial Scientific and Medical (ISM) frequency band. To prevent degradation of other industrial communications using the ISM band, the network will support the Listen Before Talk (LBT) function, Samsung noted.

Before going national, the network will be deployed next month in Daegu, Korea's fourth-largest city.

Samsung executive Youngky Kim noted in a statement that now is a "critical moment for ICT companies looking for new future business opportunities such as IoT services."

SK Telecom executive vice president Lee Jong-bong similarly said that this early deployment should help SK Telecom "maintain its position as pioneer in the field of telecommunications."

Other operators, however, are also seeking out the competitive advantage that comes with being first out of the gate.

KT, South Korea's largest fixed line telecom, also has plans for a nationwide Internet of Things (IOT)-dedicated network in South Korea. Instead of building a LoRaWAN network, KT is building a narrowband (NB)-IoT network service using long-term evolution machine (LTE-M), which uses licensed bands.

As SK Telecom and KT compete for the first nationwide IoT network in South Korea, other operators are working on deploying IoT networks elsewhere. While Samsung says its effort with SK Telecom will be the first LoRa-based nationwide deployment, that may not be the case. Dutch operator KPN is also trying to complete a LoRa-based IoT network across Holland, while Swisscom is working on a deployment in Switzerland.

In its announcement Tuesday, Samsung highlighted a few of the potential applications of a wide-scale IoT-dedicated network, such as supporting infrastructure for renewable energy solutions, or cloud platforms and big data analytics of healthcare and medical services.

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