South Korea is becoming even more connected. SK Telecom Co., a leading South Korean carrier, has announced the launch of the first commercial low-cost nationwide network that will allow devices to talk to each other via the Internet of Things. SK Telecom aims at leaving rivals behind with a help of innovative technology as the company has been undergoing recession in its mobile business.
“To promote the growth of the IoT market, SK Telecom plans to offer attractive price plans and develop innovative IoT services, while offering strong support for SMEs. To this end, the company will invest a total of KRW 100 billion by the end of 2017. It expects these efforts to lead to rapid expansion of the IoT industry by connecting over 4 million things to its IoT-dedicated networks by the end of 2017”, state the press release.
Telecommunications operators are forging ahead hoping to use new technologies to attract new customers and boost profits. The employment of IoT can allow finding lost smartphones, monitoring pets and gas meters and automatically re-supplying printers or washing machines.
Low-power wireless area network developed by SK Telecom is based on LoRa technology, one of several standards that covers 99% of the population and strives for global adoption. SK Telecom has set a monthly flat rate of less than $2 for 100 megabytes of data to its heaviest users, for instance for real-time lighting control and security, to outperform its rival KT Corp. The rate for lower-end users is even lower. The company offers also discount benefits for enterprise customers according to their contract period and the number of lines they use. Начало формы
“An initial revenue decline is inevitable,” said Cha In-Hyok, head of SK Telecom’s internet of things solutions business office.
SK Telecom will provide 100,000 units of LoRa modules for free to promote LoRa services and encourage their faster adoption.
“SK Telecom is proud to announce the nationwide deployment of LoRaWAN as it marks the first important step towards realizing connectivity between infinite number of things, going beyond the traditional role of telecommunications centered on connectivity between people,” said Lee Hyung-hee, President of Mobile Network Business at SK Telecom. “Going forward, SK Telecom will develop and offer a wide variety of IoT services designed to offer new value for customers, while working closely with partners including SMEs and startups to vitalize the IoT ecosystem.”
SK Telecom revealed that the new LoRa-based network service costs “one-tenth” of the company’s fourth-generation LTE-based service for connected things.
“South Korean telcos are scrambling to attract thousands of new users quickly as they seek to expand their internet of Things platforms. Doing so may come at the expense of near-term earnings, since achieving scale is key to profitability,” said Anthea Lai and Anand Srinivasan, analysts at Bloomberg Intelligence.