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Spark lights up Cat M1 IoT network

New Zealand telco deploying Cat M1 across the country in the coming six months.

New Zealand's incumbent telecommunications provider Spark switched on its LTE Cat M1 network across its 4G network on Monday.

The telco said the network is running in its 700 and 1800MHz bands, and would be deployed across the rest of the country in the next six months to eventually cover 95 percent of places in New Zealand.

Cat M1 is available in parts of Auckland, Hamilton, Dunedin, Christchurch, Tauranga, and Wellington.

"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," Spark digital services lead Michael Stribling said.

"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."

Spark completed trials on its Cat M1 network in November last year, and at the time, expected the commercial launch of the network to happen in early 2018.

In July last year, the telco announced the build of its low-power, long-range LoRa IoT network, which uses unlicenced spectrum and has separate gateways to the 4G and M1 networks.

In Febraury, the telco flagged it would be launching LoRa in March.

Over the recent past, a number of telco providers around the world have switched on Cat M1 networks.

Australia's dominant telco, Telstra, turned on its Cat M1 network in August last year.

In March, Singtel announced it had switched on its Cat M1 and narrowband IoT networks across Singapore.

A month later, Korea's SK Telecom turned on its M1 network, and in August released a $60 smart tag that could be used to track items such as children or pets.

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