Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

O2 rolls out LTE-M network in UK

Steve Rogerson
February 18, 2020



Mobile operator O2 plans to roll out the first LTE-M network across the UK in 2020, with 50 sites already live.
 
Rollout of this low-power IoT technology should help enable business applications such as asset tracking, connected traffic lights, parking sensors, soil monitoring and assisted living alerts. The company says the investment reflects its focus on IoT as a growth area, as it moves towards long-range IoT communication on a huge scale.
 
National rollout is planned to be completed this year.
 
A low-power, wide-area network (or LPWAN), the LTE-M network from O2 is designed to help encourage massive scale for future IoT deployment in the UK. It will enable businesses to support millions of connected devices, driving increased operational efficiencies and insights. It also provides high throughput, with wide coverage for urban and rural areas, and low latency.
 
Because it allows businesses to share small amounts of data between assets at a low power consumption, it saves on battery life with devices running for up to ten years with no need to charge. These benefits can also help bring down IoT device costs for business customers connecting to the network.
 
“IoT technology has the potential to transform the way the UK does business, so to become the first UK network operator to roll out an LTE-M network is a major milestone for us here at O2,” said Paul O’Sullivan, director of wholesale and commercial at O2. “We know that businesses looking into IoT want answers now, not in five to ten years. Introducing a nationwide LTE-M network in 2020 will help unlock low-power use cases we haven’t seen before, from asset tracking and public sector applications like sensors on signage and traffic lights, right through to parking sensors and soil monitoring. We’re looking forward to partnering with UK businesses to bring these use cases to life.”
 
O2 has already made significant developments in its IoT offering to date, delivering one of the world’s largest IoT deals by providing smart meters across the UK. The company is now working on trials to bring LTE-M applications to market via its new network, including projects relating to smart cities, retail and healthcare.