Spark extends Cat-M1 IoT network across New Zealand

Just five months after launching the network, Spark has announced that its Cat-M1 IoT coverage now reaches 98 percent of the New Zealand population.

Spark extends Cat-M1 IoT network across New Zealand Just five months after launching the network, Spark has announced that its Cat-M1 IoT coverage now reaches 98 percent of the New Zealand population.

Spark has extended its Cat-M1 Internet of Things (IoT) network to 98 percent of the New Zealand population.

The Cat-M1 network is deployed across 96 percent of Spark's 4G sites, with the carrier expecting to add more than 2,000 new IoT devices every week.

"On top of being an IoT network and mobile service provider, Spark will also expand its suite of IoT services, a move that will see us work with best-in-class partners to enable startups to enterprises to solve problems," Spark's Digital Services head Michael Stribling added.

Spark said its first major Cat-M1 IoT customer is smart metering provider IntelliHub, which previously had to use 2G networks for its services.

"We are using Spark's new Cat-M1 network to service our current nationwide deployment as we accelerate the installation of 150,000 smart meters to a large portion of [wholesale internet, gas, and electricity provider] Trustpower's customer base," IntelliHub CEO Adrian Clark said.

"This is a business-first technology rollout and we are ... starting in Tauranga for Trustpower with the help of Spark."

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Spark's Cat-M1 IoT coverage

(Image: Spark)

Clark said IntelliHub will also use the Spark Cat-M1 network to expand into the IoT services of smart gas metering, solar monitoring, and "demand response applications".

Spark is expecting its Cat-M1 network to provide for use cases across smart city infrastructure, horticulture machinery tracking, video surveillance, biometrics, outpatient monitoring, telematics, and smart wearables.

The carrier had lit up the network in September last year, saying it would run on the 700MHz and 1800MHz spectrum bands. At the time, the network provided coverage to parts of Auckland, Hamilton, Dunedin, Christchurch, Tauranga, and Wellington, but it was aiming to cover 95 percent of places in New Zealand within six months.

"M1 is a secure, high-quality network, ideal where sensors and devices are transferring data regularly and near real-time access to that data is critical," Stribling said last year.

"We're working with customers on a broad range of use cases for M1, driven by its nationwide coverage and high performance. Great examples include vehicle telematics, smart metering, smart health devices, and smart cities applications such as lighting and environmental monitoring."

Last March, Spark also launched its LoRaWAN IoT network in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua, Palmerston North, Shannon, Blenheim, Nelson, and Dunedin.

The LoRa IoT network consists of gateways and antennas installed atop Spark's 4G cell sites, with the telco using Actility's ThingPark Wireless platform, Kerlink's gateways, and Kordia to build and maintain the network, which it said could be used for smart cities applications.

"Councils will be able to use the smart lighting technology to manage streetlights remotely, applying bespoke dimming profiles, monitoring maintenance, and turning them on or off as needed," Spark NZ said.

"This will enable them to respond faster to community requests, events, and changes in daylight to keep streets safer for people, save power and reduce carbon emissions."

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