Samsung & SK Telecom to launch world’s 1st nationwide IoT network in S Korea

Samsung Electronics announced a new contract with SK Telecom to deploy a commercial Internet of Things (IoT)-dedicated nationwide LoRaWAN network which is specified by the 300+ member LoRa Alliance.

The network will be deployed across Korea using the 900 MHz unlicensed frequency band. The commercial service is scheduled to launch in Daegu, Korea’s fourth largest city, next month and will be available nationwide by the middle of this year.

Daegu will serve as a test bed for the IoT network, and focus on setting up and adopting infrastructure for renewable energy solutions, cloud platforms and big data analytics of healthcare and medical services, as well as electric vehicle infrastructure for autonomous cars. For example, streetlights in the city will collect weather and traffic information using IoT sensors, enabling cost savings by automatically adjusting the lighting level and also sending air pollution status information.

“With the early deployment of a nationwide IoT network, SK Telecom will be able to maintain its position as pioneer in the field of telecommunications,” said Lee Jong-bong, Executive Vice President and Head of Infra Division at SK Telecom. “SK Telecom will continue to work closely with partners including Samsung to deliver new value and convenience to both individual and enterprise customers over the IoT network.”

“Now is a critical moment for ICT companies looking for new future business opportunities such as IoT services,” said Youngky Kim, President and Head of Networks Business at Samsung Electronics. “We are very pleased to partner with SK Telecom for its pioneering IoT vision. Samsung will contribute in creating the ecosystem for enabling significant changes driven by new IoT services.”

The country has already subsidized the building of Songdo, which is billed as the “world’s first smart city,” and is currently considering lifting regulations on the IoT industry in order to make it easier for companies to commercialize new technology.

South Korea’s Internet speeds are already among the fastest in the world, thanks to policies the government adopted more than a decade ago in order to help it recover from the Asian financial crisis.

Note that France based Orange (formerly France Telecom) has also opted to deploy the LoRa WAN.  Further, it’s rumored that there will be several large LoRa deployments within the next few months, including a U.S. wireless carrier.

From Craig Miller of Sequans Communications (builds LTE 1, M, M1 and M2 chips- but NOT for LoRa WAN):

“LoRa WAN is a perfectly fine technology, and like I said, there are applications where it (or it’s other proprietary rivals) will enjoy some acceptance, where folks are willing to tolerate the risk of relying long-term on a network that doesn’t exist on any truly national or global scale (unlike LTE), that runs on unlicensed frequencies (unlike LTE), and where the core IP is held largely by a single vendor (unlike LTE).  In campus deployments, in private networks, I’m sure it will do well.  BTW, someone still has to build, operate, maintain and upgrade those networks.”