Samsung & SK Telecom To Build The First IoT Cellular Network

The Internet of Things is a term used to describe a network of billions of interconnected devices designed to simplify modern life. The networking hardware and software will sit between the devices, sensors and objects to be connected and in many cases the cloud computing muscle that performs the smart side of things. The Internet-of-Things technology will be designed to run over a number of different platforms, from using current carrier consumer networks, through Wi-Fi, and through dedicated IoT networks. Many carriers are interested in getting IoT devices to use their networks, aware that this is a readily tapped resource and how the majority of IoT devices are optimised for slow data requirements. In other words, when a typical IoT device requires Internet access, it does not need to transmit or receive much data and it will work with slow data rates. As such there should be a relatively low impact on cellular data networks designed to handle smartphone and tablet data speeds and amounts.

We've news today that Samsung and SK Telecom have created a partnership to build the world's first network designed for the Internet of Things. The network will be released in the city of Daegu, South Korea, next month and the joint venture are planning on rolling the network out to cover the rest of the country shortly thereafter. The new network will be available for businesses to use and will operate on the 900 MHz band, which is used in South Korea as an unlicensed public spectrum called the ISM band, for Industrial Scientific and Medical. The operators are using a LoRaWAN, long range WAN, and it will support various technologies designed to allow it to cooperate in an unlicensed part of the specturm, similar to LTE-E and related technologies. One of the features includes "Listen Before Talk," whereby the network hardware checks that a given frequency is not in use before starting to transmit data. The new network will be paired up with a new service model called the Internet of Small Things, or IoST; this will be used to help create business opportunities using Low Power Wide Area Network technologies, which is designed to optimise the sending and transmission of relatively small amounts of data at very low speeds, below 5 Kbps.

Daegu are planning on using the new network to experiment with city-wide IoT technology, such as using streetlights to collect weather, pollution and traffic information, and to adapt illumination accordingly. Youngky Kim, Samsung's President and Head of Networks Business, said this of the announcement: "Now is a critical moment for ICT companies looking for new future business opportunities such as IoT services… We are very pleased to partner with SK Telecom for its pioneering IoT vision. Samsung will contribute in creating the ecosystem for enabling significant changes driven by new IoT services."

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About the Author

David Steele

Senior Staff Writer
I grew up with 8-bit computers and moved into PDAs in my professional life, using a number of devices from early Windows CE clamshells and later. Today, my main devices are a Nexus 5X, a Sony Xperia Z Tablet and a coffee cup.