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Sigfox expands into Japan and South Africa

Sigfox is expanding its network into Japan and South Africa following deals with local companies Kyocera and DFA, respectively.
Japan is the world's third largest IoT market and the partnership with KCCS, a subsidiary of Kyocera, is a strategic move to tap into this fast-growing market which represents six per cent of global revenue that is set to reach US$3tn by 2025. With key Japanese corporations investing heavily in the IoT sector, Japan will also be a major contributor to the global IoT ecosystem.
"We are proud to be entering a partnership with KCCS to enable the huge potential of Japanese corporations and society,” said Rodolphe Baronnet-Fruges, executive vice president of France-based Sigfox. “I am confident that the Japanese solutions, powered by Sigfox, will meet the fourth industrial revolution challenge head-on."
KCCS will deploy Sigfox's network nationwide and distribute the service to its customers. The roll-out will provide main territory coverage in 2018, initially starting in Tokyo in early 2017. KCCS will target applications across all vertical markets, with a particular focus on public utility, infrastructure, healthcare, logistics, agriculture and manufacturing industries.
"As the third largest IoT market in the world, Japan is strategic for Sigfox, both for its significance as a connected market in its own right, and as a key global contributor to the development of smart connected devices fuelling the growth of the internet of things worldwide,” said Roswell Wolff, president for Sigfox in Asia Pacific. "We expect exponential growth in demand to connect millions of devices over a simple, low cost, low power and long range network. We look forward to a strong partnership with KCCS to drive the expansion of the Japanese IoT market.”
KCCS, a subsidiary of Kyocera – a global supplier of printers, copiers, mobile phones, solar power generating systems, electronic components, semiconductor packages, cutting tools and industrial ceramics – will deploy Sigfox's network nationwide and distribute the service to its customers.
"I am delighted with our partnership with Sigfox, to deploy the Sigfox network in Japan,” said Yoshihito Kurose, president of Kyocera Communication Systems. “There are already a number of Sigfox use cases in the global market that we can learn from. Kyocera will deploy the Sigfox network in Japan as well as create many applications and contribute to the global success of the Sigfox network.”
In South Africa, SqwidNet, a wholly owned subsidiary of DFA, will deploy and operate Sigfox's network nationwide and distribute the IoT connectivity services to its partner channels.
The deal is a strategic move to expand to a market that is still largely untapped, but presents opportunity both for business and society. The South African IoT market, which is estimated to reach in excess of $2bn by 2020, is set to revolutionise all sectors stimulating industry growth and economic development.
"We're very excited about this partnership with SqwidNet,” said Xavier Drilhon, Sigfox deputy CEO. “This move marks yet another key milestone towards Sigfox's vision of a global IoT network and in its expansion into the MEA region. All the pieces are now falling into place to make IoT a short-term reality in South Africa. South Africa is a strategic country for Sigfox as it hosts a vibrant ecosystem of innovative IoT solutions with exports across the African continent and worldwide.”
DFA finances, builds, installs, manages and offers wholesale open access fibre infrastructure and managed connectivity services to the mobile operator, service provider and large enterprise segments in South Africa. As the exclusive partner of Sigfox, SqwidNet will address the need of a cost efficient nationwide IoT network in South Africa.
"Our move into IoT is underpinned by our strategic intent of enabling a digital world in which innovation and meaningful connections thrive,” said Reshaad Sha, DFA's chief strategy officer and acting CEO of SqwidNet. “By working closely with our existing and new partners we believe that the connectivity proposition that we will be taking to market will be leveraged for the strength and technological prowess that Sigfox enables.”
The roll-out will initially be in the key metros starting with Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban, with full national coverage to be completed by 2018. SqwidNet will target applications across all vertical markets, with a particular focus on asset tracking, predicative maintenance, logistics and security. Leveraging DFA's established open access wholesale operating model, SqwidNet too will operate on an open access basis working closely with channel partners to take services to the market.
"We are confident that this move will deliver tremendous benefits across the entire region, especially within asset tracking and security verticals,” said Thierry Siminger, president of MEA at Sigfox. “Not only does DFA have the largest open-access footprint in the country, but we share the same vision. We are convinced that technology can revolutionise the way we live if four conditions are met – open access, network coverage, cost efficiency and low power consumption."
DFA finances, builds, installs, manages and maintains a fibre network to transmit metro and long-haul telecommunications traffic in South Africa. It started rolling out its network in South African cities during October 2007. DFA has rolled out in excess of 10,000km of route fibre, which it manages and operates with an uptime of 99.99 per cent at a passive level. DFA leases secure transmission and backbone fibre infrastructure to telecommunications operators, internet service providers, media conglomerates, tertiary education institutions, municipalities, government organisations and other businesses, large and small, on equal terms.
Sigfox has also announced that some of its partners are bringing out low-cost modules to help with mass-market deployment. The first partners include manufacturer Wisol, which is already delivering samples based on On Semiconductor’s single chip SoC and will be starting mass production in December 2016. Additionally, InnoComm will be manufacturing modules based on NXP transceivers. Its samples will be available from January 2017, with mass production starting in March 2017.
"We are delighted to be part of the Sigfox ecosystem, and its game-changing approach to device connectivity,” said Volker Graeger, vice president of NXP. “These IoT modules will be catalysts for new business models and use cases that are virtually unimaginable today."
And the latest IoT radio chip from ST Microelectronics enables connectivity to the Sigfox global network. The S2-LP transceiver is for networked devices, such as alarm systems, surveillance equipment and smart energy metering, as well as long-range radio links used to connect devices such as remote sensors directly to the cloud without a local gateway. Other applications include building automation, industrial monitoring and control, and systems for managing lighting, traffic or parking in smart cities.
The Sigfox network now spans across 26 countries and boasts a footprint in some of the largest economies in every continent. With six countries already covered nationwide, 20 others being rolled out and new countries being added to the list at a rapid pace, Sigfox claims to be the world's largest IoT network. The company plans to have coverage in 60 countries by 2018.