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Telefónica, SK Telecom, NTT Docomo invest in French IoT firm SIGFOX

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A bunch of companies including operators Telefónica, SK Telecom and NTT Docomo have invested a total of $115 million in SIGFOX, a French company claiming to be the world’s first and only company to offer global mobile connectivity to the IoT.

SIGFOX, established in 2009, claims to have pioneered the low-power wide-area (LPWA) connectivity space. LPWA is used for small connected objects that are supposed to be always on, such as water or electricity meters.

The firm said having mobile operators on board is a clear sign how well its two-way, low-throughput technology complements existing high-bandwidth networks. “Since creating the LPWA space three years ago, SIGFOX has become the leading global solution for IoT connectivity,” Ludovic Le Moan, CEO of SIGFOX said. “This investment round recognizes those achievements and highlights the company’s potential to become the worldwide standard for small-message-based connectivity.”

The other investors in the round were satellite broadband provider Eutelsat, energy companies GDF Suez and Air Liquide, and US investment firm Elliot Management. SIGFOX has already deployed its technology in France, Netherlands, Spain, UK and soon in the US, and it said the freshly acquired cash will go towards its planned roll-out in rest of the Europe, as well as Asia and the Americas.

“This record $115 million round is a significant step in the development of our network’s coverage all around the world,” Anne Lauvergeon, SIGFOX’s Chairman said. “The trust of our investors and the dynamism of SIGFOX’s team allow us to strengthen our position as the world leader in IoT communications.”

Jean-Hubert Lenotte, director of strategy at Eutelsat said: “Eutelsat’s investment in SIGFOX signals our conviction that satellites can accelerate the development of the IoT market, both in terms of reach and reliability.

“Eutelsat is constantly looking at innovative developments that push back the boundaries of our markets, add value for our customers and anchor satellites in an increasingly connected economy. SIGFOX has assembled a unique and compelling solution for the IoT market. We look forward to contributing to their growth and participating in their experience and entrepreneurial development.”

This move by operators Telefónica, SK Telecom and NTT Docomo is a further sign of the accelerating investment by telcos in the IoT, a market estimated by Ofcom to consist of some 50 billion connected devices by 2020. Although it is a sector only set to grow, it will take some time to become the utopia where absolutely everything is connected in the way a lot of the buzz-talk has portrayed.


One comment

  1. Randy Zoeller 11/02/2015 @ 4:38 pm

    That’s a large investment, but since Ludovic Le Moan (Sigfox CEO) is famous for wasting investor money on 1000 Euro dinners and lavish offices, I figure this is the equivalent of a US company raising a good $10M series A. And they are going to cover half the globe with their network? One of their key partners in the US (Whistle) just abandoned Sigfox (still waiting for a US network, etc.) to go with a cell-based solution. They’ll need a lot more money to do what they promise.

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