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SK Telecom announces Nationwide Roll-Out of LPWA Network for IoT
03/18/2016 | By tech@netmanias.com (NETMANIAS)
  • Plans to invest a total of KRW 100 billion by 2017 to boost its IoT business: It will deploy LPWAN throughout the nation within this year, develop IoT-dedicated modules, and constantly upgrade its IoT Platform ThingPlug to gain leadership in the IoT market and achieve win-win results with startups and SMEs.


SK Telecom announced today its comprehensive strategy for the Internet of Things (IoT) to usher in a new era of consumer value/convenience supported by innovative IoT services. Its plans include

1) building a nationwide Low-Power Wide-Area Network (LPWAN) within this year,

2) developing IoT-dedicated modules, and

3) upgrading its IoT platform ThingPlug.


To implement its strategy, the company said that it will invest more than KRW 100 billion (approx. USD 84 million) over two years.


The company’s plans come in step with the Korean Government’s aggressive move towards promoting new industries including the IoT industry. In particular, the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning decided to revise the maximum transmit power for the 900MHz frequency band – i.e. from 10mW to 200mW - to nurture the IoT industry. Such move is expected to help operators overcome limitations caused by the low transmit power and to secure the basis for many new IoT services.


With the nationwide deployment of the LPWA networks, SK Telecom will secure a solid IoT infrastructure. LPWAN is a type of telecommunications network designed to support communication among IoT devices. As it can transmit data over tens of kilometers while consuming much less power, many companies across the world are actively developing the LPWA technologies and launching related services. LPWAN, once built, is expected to give birth to numerous types of new business models – e.g. metering, location tracking (e.g. finding missing persons/pets, tracking logistics, etc.) and monitoring & control services - as it dramatically saves battery power and cost for connectivity.


In July 2015, SK Telecom joined the LoRa Alliance* to discuss the standardization of the LPWA network as well as measures for the adoption and utilization of the network.


* The LoRa Alliance is an open, non-profit association initiated by industry leaders with a mission to standardize Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) being deployed around the world to enable IoT. The Alliance members are working together to drive the global success of the LoRa protocol (LoRaWAN), by sharing knowledge and experience to guarantee interoperability between operators in one open global standard.


Along with the nationwide LPWAN deployment, SK Telecom will also establish ‘IoT Control Center’ to manage network equipment and IoT devices. The IoT Control Center will monitor real-time status of the nationwide IoT network and all connected devices to optimize the operation. The center will also operate ‘IoT Security Diagnosis Process’ that urges one to follow the security guidelines from the stage of product planning, and measures the security level of the developed or altered system/devices and removes security weaknesses.


Moreover, SK Telecom will develop IoT-dedicated modules that can be embedded in the IoT devices. It also plans to open the Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) of these modules to third party companies. To further support startups and SMEs, the company will provide IoT modules, free of charge, to allow them to test their services, thus lowering the entry barrier for them.


Furthermore, SK Telecom plans to make constant upgrades to its IoT platform ThingPlug, launched in 2015 to create an environment where anyone can easily develop and use an IoT service.


“Through our IoT strategy that encompasses network, platform and devices, SK Telecom will lead the growth of the IoT industry,” said Lee Hyung-hee, President and Chief Operating Officer of SK Telecom. “Our forward-looking efforts will also contribute to the creation of an enriched IoT ecosystem where developers and startups/SMEs can easily build diverse IoT services that can bring new and differentiated value for customers.”

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