Tech Intelligence Bulletin (HG Insights) – O2 has unveiled its plans to grow its IoT (Internet of Things) offering by becoming the first network to announce the introduction of an LTE-M (Long Term Evolution, category M1) network in the UK.

The new O2 LTE-M network will help unlock widespread uptake of long-life IoT battery devices out in the field, with 50 UK cell sites already live and national rollout planned to complete this year.

Encouraging massive future IoT deployment

A low-power, wide-area network (or LPWAN), the new LTE-M network from O2 is designed to help encourage massive scale for future IoT deployment in the UK. It will enable businesses to support millions of connected devices, driving increased operational efficiencies and insights. It also provides higher throughput, with wide coverage for urban and rural areas, and lower latency. What’s more, because it allows businesses to share small amounts of data between assets at a low power consumption, it saves on battery life (with devices running for up to 10 years with no need to charge). All these benefits can also help bring down IoT device costs for business customers connecting to the network.

Major milestone for O2

Paul O’ Sullivan, Director of Wholesale & Commercial at O2, said “IoT technology has the potential to transform the way the UK does business, so to become the first UK network operator to roll out an LTE-M network is a major milestone for us here at O2. We know that businesses looking into IoT solutions want answers now, not in five to ten years. Introducing a nationwide LTE-M network in 2020 will help unlock low-power use cases we haven’t seen before: from asset tracking and public sector applications like sensors on signage and traffic lights, right through to parking sensors and soil monitoring. We’re looking forward to partnering with UK businesses to bring these use cases to life.”

O2 has already made significant developments in its IoT offering to date, delivering one of the world’s largest IoT deals – providing smart meters across the UK. The company is now working on trials to bring new LTE-M applications to market via its new network, including projects relating to smart cities, retail and healthcare.

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