Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Telekom Austria develops smart meter with LTE connectivity

Steve Rogerson
March 16, 2015
Telekom Austria is offering Europe’s first smart meter with LTE connectivity to its domestic customers. Called Österreich Zähler, the smart grid device was developed jointly by Telekom Austria’s M2M experts with partners Kaifa and ZTE.
The communications module supports both LTE/4G (2600 and 800MHz) and GPRS/2G (1800 and 900MHz) technologies. Based on a modular design, it provides flexibility in terms of data communications; the modules are completely interchangeable and easily adjusted to the corresponding technology.
LTE is the latest mobile communications technology available and is based on globally established transmission and security standards. In addition to being future proof, the technology also provides legal stability as the company has been granted corresponding long-term mobile licences.
"Smart meters based on wireless technology do not need any additional infrastructure and are therefore the ideal solution for a targeted rollout across the country,” said Bernd Liebscher, managing director of Telekom Austria’s M2M group. ‘With the LTE/4G communications module, we are able to increase the reach of smart meters, to include previously difficult locations. Combined with the company's high-security M2M communications services based on Austria's best network, Österreich Zähler offers a flexible, cost-effective and future-proof solution for domestic power grid operators.”
Available bandwidths within the 800MHz range allow for optimal network coverage in rural areas and bring about advantages in terms of building penetration. Especially in buildings where meters are located in the basement, the ability to penetrate obstacles is imperative. High bandwidths and low latency also enable the deployment of LTE smart meters for future smart grid applications such as the timely recording of quality parameters in power grids.
It also meets relevant sustainability requirements: lower smart meter energy consumption contributes to improving energy efficiency by up to 60% compared with conventional Ferraris meters.
All components are based on globally established mobile communications standards. Furthermore, this smart metering technology has been adjusted to the specific needs of the Austrian market. Collaboration between experts from the telecoms and energy industry have helped the smooth interplay between hardware, firmware and the communications network, enabling secure and reliable data transmissions, while keeping the smart meters' own energy consumption at a low level.