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Orange hits 100% IoT coverage in Belgium

Steve Rogerson
December 14, 2017

Orange says its IoT network in Belgium has reached 100% coverage.
The possibilities offered by the IoT are growing strongly in Belgium. To maintain its position in this market, Orange Belgium decided last year to invest in IoT technologies based on international standards. Today Orange announces the availability of NB-IoT and LTE-M technologies on the whole Belgian territory, reaching nationwide coverage both indoors and outdoors.
The NB-IoT and LTE-M technologies are low-power wide area (LPWA) cellular network layers that will allow millions of everyday objects to be connected to the IoT. LPWA technologies offer many advantages when connecting objects, such as extending the battery life of the connected equipment by up to ten years thanks to low energy consumption, or reducing the cost of the radio modules inside the devices that need to be connected. Smart furniture, smart parking and asset tracking for instance become possible.
The operators says it is turning Belgium into a mobile IoT test lab by launching the first nationwide LPWA cellular network. The mobile IoT technologies bring a different approach to LPWA technologies. Apart from the extended battery life and the cost of the radio modules, NB-IoT and LTE-M also enable full bidirectional communications between the object and the network allowing firmware software updates over the air.
Mobile coverage is up to +20dB above 2G and 4G coverage, improving signal penetration inside buildings. It can rely on a guaranteed connectivity abroad (roaming) on other operators' mobile IoT networks.
It operates in licensed spectrum. Moreover, the SIM card offers secure connections thanks to LTE networks' capabilities in terms of authenticating and encrypting the data in transit.
"The choice for mobile IoT technologies is future-proof as it is fully consistent with the future evolution towards 5G,” said Gabriel Flichy, chief technology officer of Orange Belgium. “It will then be possible to connect objects that require very high reliability, for example for the remote control of critical devices and automation processes. Today we are already using our mobile IoT network together with the Flemish government for a project with connected bikes in collaboration with our partners Huawei and Sensinxs; Imec is testing a smart plug project as part of Antwerp's City of Things programme; and we have teamed up with CommuniThings for smart parking. We invite all application developers, system integrators and early adopters to test the advantages of Orange’s mobile IoT network."
Overall, mobile IoT should act as the catalyst for companies to establish connections that would not have been viable with existing technologies, says Orange.