SK Telecom, South Korea's leading network operator has launched the country's first commercial Internet of Things (IoT) to be deployed nationwide. The newly-launched LoRaWAN network, which stands for long-range wide-area network is a low-power wireless network protocol specifically designed for internet-connected, battery-operated objects and helps to transmit small amounts of data at very low speeds.
A similar IoT data network was launched in 2015 August in Amsterdam but its range only spanned citywide. In comparison, this is a countrywide LoRaWAN network. This represents an attempt to standardise LPWAN (low-power wide-area networks), which offers a cheaper and more power-efficient alternative to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and cellular networks.
The Netherlands has also made it to the list of countries to get IoT. Recently KPN rolled out its LoRa network throughout the Netherlands, making it one among the countries in the world to have a nationwide LoRa network for IoT applications.
"Our nationwide IoT network system will open up a new ecosystem for new businesses, services and infrastructure to thrive in," Lee Hyung-hee, president of SK Telecom's mobile network business told the Korea Herald.
One of the main benefits of this network is its affordability, where monthly price plans range from 350 won ($0.3, £0.2) to 2,000 won, depending on the data usage. Additionally, the expanded IoT network will help harness new innovative technologies that include off-site monitoring of street lights and manholes as well as wearables to track lost pets and cell phones.
Having the LoRaWAN network in South Korea now adds to the already existing strong LTE (Long term evolution) presence, which is able to transmit complex data with more speed and in larger quantities. South Korea's internet speeds are already among the fastest in the world and with the launch of this network, the company says both its LoRaWAN and LTE combined cover 90% of Korean territory and reaches 99% of the local population in terms of internet connectivity.