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SK Telecom to launch IoT network nationwide by June
05/19/2016 | By Netmanias (tech@netmanias.com)

 

SK Telecom (www.sktelecom.com) is now moving towards building an IoT ecosystem, actively making plans to accelerate a LoRa-based IoT nationwide network, presenting a roadmap for developing IoT service, drafting IoT service pricing policies, etc.
 
Global IoT industry is forecasted to be $1.2 trillion, and its LPWA segment alone is forecasted to be over $210 billion by 2020*. Given that, the industry is considered as a key new industry essential to the nation’s economic recovery.
* Gartner “Forecast Internet of Things – Endpoints and Associated Services, Worldwide(2015)”, “The Internet of Things, Worldwide(2013/2015)”
 
The  Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP) of Korea already announced a plan to raise the frequency power limit in unlicensed bands to promote the IoT industry. It also made another plan recently to de-regulate IoT pricing, and additionally secure IoT-dedicated frequency in unlicensed bands. These measures will likely boost competition among operators in development of consumer-centered IoT services, and invite more small & medium-sized enterprises and startups to join the industry.

 

SK Telecom, becoming well-aware of the importance of the IoT industry earlier than anyone else in the industry, set ‘IoT Playground’ strategies for establishing a trusted IoT ecosystem, detailing i) supplying/distributing LPWA-dedicated modules based on Hybrid IoT network that can serve both LTE-M and LPWA purposes, ii) providing ThingPlug, an IoT-dedicated platform developed by the company, and iii) raising fund for IoT.
 
IoT Hybrid network to secure an trusted IoT ecosystem  

SK Telecom plans to accelerate its construction of a LoRa-based IoT nationwide network to be ready by the end of June. The new network will be aiming to serve 99% of the population, and 90% of the area in the nation. The company is currently preparing a wide range of IoT services to be offered through 'LTE-M', an IoT-dedicated network that it deployed and tested in the LTE commercial network.
 
IoT is primarily designed for serving low-power, infrequent, tiny data like numbers and coordinates. And the IoT industry in Korea is estimated to be about USD 1.8 billon (KRW 2.2 trillion), when evaluated based on currently applicable services. A variety of new services relying on the IoT-dedicated network are expected to arrive soon. 

 

The operator will also be encouraging small & medium-sized enterprises and startups to join the industry, with the hope of cultivating and expanding the IoT ecosystem together. 
 
More IoT service like remote metering, location tracking, monitoring, etc. to come

IoT network can serve low-power, infrequent, tiny data at lower prices. Considering such nature, SK Telecom will be actively developing relevant services, with major focus on 3 areas: remote metering, location tracking and monitoring. 
 
Remote metering service includes metering and collecting of energy usage data in facilities (e.g. gas, water, power, etc.). Last year, SK Telecom launched Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), two-way gas remote metering service, for SK E&S as a pilot project. The company will expand gas AMI service to other areas by the end of June, followed by water AMI pilot project in July. It is also aggressively seeking partnership with relevant parties in the industry with the aim to roll out power AMI service as well.
 
Location tracking service collects and manages location data of automobiles, persons/properties, movable assets, etc., facilitating personal safety and industrial asset management. The service will become available in the second half of the year, keeping kids and senior citizens with Alzheimer safe. It is said to be applicable in IoT testbed in Daeku and Smart City project in Pusan.  

 

Monitoring service controls and manages the status and conditions of manufacturing, public and commercial facilities. Enterprises with large-scale production facilities will benefit the most by letting their facilities be automatically monitored, and thereby proactively securing optimized equipment operation and safety in the facilities. The service will first be launched in SK Hynix's plant in Woosi, China in September, and probably in other facilities thereafter.  
 
More services directly related to our everyday life, including climate and soil monitoring, environmental monitoring for harmful substances like radon, street and traffic light monitoring and control, and more, will be introduced through pilot projects by the end of the year. With AMI pilot project in Iran scheduled for launch, the company seems be ready to enter the global market as well.
 
In addition to LPWA,  the company will be offering services that require real-time processing and high mobility through its LTE-M network as well. By leveraging its Hybrid IoT network, it should be able to drastically expand the range of the IoT service offering. 
 
Pricing much lower than LTE

SK Telecom is drafting service plans that are much lower than LTE's. Besides, different rates per service term and per number of circuits will be applied, allowing users served through LPWA network to pay much less than those served through LTE-M.
 
What's even more, SK Telecom is currently reviewing on providing circuits or modules for free to users served through SK Telecom's platform.
 
The operator is known to keep multiple module suppliers to stimulate LPWA market growth. And it will also provide small & medium-size enterprises and startups with 100,000 LPWA modules to help the emerging market to grow.
 
SK Telecom's Network Operations Division leader Lee Hyung-hee said, "The de-regulation policies by the government have paved a way for the IoT business of Korea to become competitive in the global market." He added, "SK Telecom will remain committed to establishing an IoT ecosystem, and helping small & medium-size enterprises and startups in the nation to enter the global market by investing more in the industry in line with the policies." 

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