Spark has given more details of its plans to roll out a low powered wide area radio network for IoT, based on the LoRaWAN technology.
Spark’s announcement follows that on 8 December from Chorus saying it had initiated proof of concept trials of a LoRaWAN network in conjunction with Visionstream subsidiary Vianet.
In its latest announcement, Spark said it would have the LoRaWAN network live in Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland by the end of 2017 and coverage of 70 percent of the population across a further 16 towns and cities by mid 2018.
“Spark is building over 100 new LoRa sites in 20 towns,” it said. “These sites will consist of a box and antenna (known as a gateway) installed, for the most part, on Spark 4G cell sites. Spark will install a small number of boxes on third party sites.”
Spark said it had been trialling the technology for the past year, and already had some 30 operational sites across Auckland, Waikato, Christchurch and Wellington, and a number of partners testing use cases for the technology.
Spark is also working with Levno, a company that provides monitoring of a range of farm activities, to extend coverage into rural areas.
“Farmers from the Matamata-Piako region and South Island have also been trialling the network for the past year as part of the Connecting Farms project,” Spark said. “Data sent from sensors across the farm has helped inform important decisions for farmers, such as when to irrigate, spray or harvest.”
In November Spark announced plans to deploy CAT-M1 technology for IoT on its cellular network early in 2018 saying it would “cover 95 percent of the places New Zealanders live, work and play.”
In its latest announcement it has also flagged plans for NB-IoT deployment saying it is monitoring global progress of the technology and will invest when the technology and use cases become more mature.