Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) has announced the roll-out of a dedicated Internet of Things (IoT) network.
SqwidNet, a wholly-owned subsidiary of DFA, will deploy and operate Sigfox’s network nationwide and distribute the IoT connectivity services and solutions to its partner channels.
The deal is a strategic move to expand to a market that is still largely untapped, but presents tremendous opportunity, both for business and society. The South African IoT market, which is estimated to reach in excess of $2-billion by 2020, is set to revolutionise all sectors stimulating industry growth and economic development.
DFA finances, builds, installs, manages, and offers world class 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.
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 is by far the world’s largest IoT network. The company plans to have coverage in 60 countries by 2018.
The roll-out of the Sigfox network in South Africa 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 solutions to the market.
Global scalability, cost and energy consumption have been the three greatest barriers to IoT mass adoption. Sigfox entered the global IoT market to break down these barriers. Rather than using existing technologies, Sigfox has taken a unique approach. The company is rolling out the first global IoT network to listen to billions of objects broadcasting data, without the need to establish and maintain network connections. This game-changing shift, that drastically reduces energy consumption and costs, will fuel the IoT mass market deployment.
Xavier Drilhon, Sigfox deputy-CEO, says: “We’re very excited about this partnership with SqwidNet. 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 which exports across the African continent and worldwide.”
Reshaad Sha, DFA’s chief strategy officer and acting-CEO of SqwidNet, comments: “Our move into IoT is underpinned by our strategic intent of enabling a digital world in which innovation and meaningful connections thrive.
“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.”