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Tele2, a Swedish cellular carrier has signed a partnership with Aerea, a Dutch company that operates a special ultra-efficient wireless network for the internet of things using technology from Sigfox. The partnership will let Tele2 customers use the Aerea network for IoT devices, which should lower the cost of providing connectivity for those devices in the Netherlands.
Instead of paying crazy 3G or 4G data rates, devices that transmit very low data rates such as connected smoke detectors or security alarms could transmit their data over the Aerea network for much less. The catch is those devices would need special chips using the Sigfox radios. But Sigfox is making headway in getting both the devices and the networks in Europe as customers see the benefits of having a low-cost and much more energy-efficient means of transferring data from connected devices.
For example, Aerea is the exclusive Sigfox network operator for the Netherlands and already covers 85 percent of the country. Sigfox also has deals in France, Russia and Spain as well. And with this deal, a significant European cellular carrier is now jumping on board to tie its network with a Sigfox network, which should offer credibility to the technology for use in smart cities and other large deployments with enterprise and industrial customers.
Such customers don’t want to tie their own communications networks together if they don’t have to. They want to go to a system integrator or to a large carrier to have that company do it for them. So having Tele2 now offer both a cellular and an IoT piece of the puzzle in the Netherlands offers a more compelling option while legitimizing Sigfox’s technology. That’s a big step for the French startup.
Update: Tele2 is a Swedish carrier, not a Swiss carrier.