SK Telecom first Asian operator to join LoRa IoT alliance

Korean operator SK Telecom has announced it is the first Asian mobile operator to join the LoRa Alliance, which is one of a few emerging IoT consortia looking to add some coherence to the tech mega-trend.

The LoRa Alliance has until now been a largely North Atlantic effort and SKT has already backed another IoT initiative called Sigfox. However the operator is clearly hedging its bets on IoT, calling LoRa “the largest consolidated effort by industry leaders to enable IoT.” This move is made all the more significant by the fact that fellow Korean company Samsung is one of the major backers of Sigfox.

As if to highlight the challenge of creating consensus around IoT, SKT also coined yet another term: Internet of Small Things. SKT defines this as referring to: “…the connectivity of small-sized things that measure and process a small amount of simple information such as temperature, humidity, weight, and location.” It seems to be another attempt to subdivide IoT, and indicates the need for a separate, parallel network just for IoT, but it’s not clear how useful it is for anyone beyond SKT’s marketing department.

“As a member of the LoRa Alliance, SK Telecom will actively develop services applied with the LPWAN technologies to deliver new value to our customers through the Internet of Small Things,” said Lee Hyung-hee, President of Network Operations Business at SK Telecom. “We will make efforts to successfully launch a variety of trial services, with the aim to offer them to customers throughout the nation.”

“We welcome our new member SK Telecom, the biggest mobile service provider in Korea,” said Staale Pettersen, president of the LoRa Alliance. “We believe that our technologies will ensure enhanced connectivity among things, which will be translated into more diverse services that meet customers’ needs.”

South Korea was at the forefront of 4G and clearly intends to stay ahead of the pack with the major upcoming telecoms trends. SKT was also keen to highlight the MOU it signed last month with Ericsson to collaborate on the development of LTE-based M2M technologies. Nobody really knows what IoT is yet and broad scope of it probably defies definition. But it is definitely big, and nearly all industries want to position themselves to exploit it.

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