NNNCo, the Australian startup looking to facilitate a dedicated, collaborative narrowband network platform specifically for machine-to-machine communications, is already in talks with the country’s mobile operators – with a view to mutually beneficially co-operation.
As first revealed by CommsDay the idea behind NNNCo is that existing 4G networks, while having a key role to play supporting some machine-to-machine applications, are less well-suited to efficiently serve very large numbers of low-throughput, low-power connections. And 5G might address such needs but is still years away. Instead, NNNCo has been investigating low-powered, wide-area networks using industrial, scientific and medical-band spectrum (a number of allocations, typically unlicensed, ranging from 6.76MHz up to 246GHz) which could be made available immediately and could use much cheaper cell-site tech than consumer mobile networks.
NNNCo isn’t looking to run the whole show as a single entity, but rather to enable a collaborative approach; indeed, Zagarella believes that no one person or organisation can or should own the IoT in Australia. “We partner with those who need and want to build out an IoT access network… for specific needs,” he said. “We provide access to a nationwide network of servers to ensure the high reliability, redundancy and security capabilities as required; and then we work with partners with different skills and capabilities to collect that data from a wide range of devices.”
“We oriented towards… LoWAN because of its strengths in meeting the power requirements, throughput, link budget and of course the cost requirements… but also, and probably most importantly, how it lends itself to the collaborative business model that we’re adopting. And we also see the need for other connectivity solutions in parallel with that… NNNCo and its partners offer access to other service providers with revenue sharing between the service provider, the network builder and NNNCo. That’s essentially the business model.”
All of which begs the question of how NNNCo will interact with Australia’s major mobile network players – particularly with all of them looking seriously at the IoT as a growth area for their own businesses, and a use case for their existing network assets.
“We’ve had discussions, particularly, with Optus and Telstra… it’s a matter of the willingness for those partners to bbe open, and collaborate,” Zagarella told CommsDay. “The coverage of those networks could be used together for the best benefit of the endusers, the applications and the endpoints themselves. We’d absolutely want them in there.”
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