Thinxtra says NZ Sigfox IoT network now complete

Covers 94 percent of NZ's population
  • Stuart Corner (Computerworld New Zealand)
  • 16 October, 2018 11:16

Australian company Thinxtra, which holds Australia and New Zealand licences for the Sigfox low powered wide area network technology for IoT, says its New Zealand network is now "complete" and covering 94 percent of the population.

However the company says it is still expanding the network in rural and remote areas to support agricultural users.

The network was built by Kordia, but is monitored and managed by Thinxtra. Kordia and Datacom are now resellers of the network.

Sigfox says the network supports a number of commercially deployed smart city and agriculture projects including: monitoring waste bins in Christchurch, monitoring speed and school signs in North Island, water tank level monitoring in farms in Waikato; monitoring temperature of Paua tanks. It says many more use cases will be announced soon.

Thinxtra NZ has its main office in Auckland but says it is expanding its presence to Christchurch, "recognising the strong activities coming out of South Island by our ecosystem and rapidly expanding customer base."

Thinxtra claims Sigfox is "winning the global race of the LPWAN (low power wide area network) market to connect the un-connected" with networks in 47 countries and 2.5 million ‘live’ connections.

Its main direct rival is the open LoRaWAN technology, networks of which are being rolled out in New Zealand by Spark, Kotahinet and, possibly Chorus.

Spark launched its LoRaWAN network in March 2018. It does not appear to have disclosed the extent of coverage.

In December 2017 Chorus initiated proof of concept trials of a LoRaWAN network in Takapuna and Torbay on Auckland’s North Shore, in conjunction with Vianet, a subsidiary of Australian infrastructure services company Ventia, which is also the owner of Visionstream.

Chorus CEO, Kate McKenzie, said the company's extensive, nationwide network of assets including 280,000 telephone poles, 6,000 street cabinets, 600 exchanges and 200 masts on high sites, meant that Chorus would be able to "offer levels of IoT network coverage that competing networks will struggle to achieve.”

Chorus is yet to announce any plans to rollout a LoRaWAN network, but in this week's presentation for an investor roadshow said it had trialled infrastructure re-use for IoT delivery and was "moving to commercialisation."

In February 2016 Kotahinet announced plans to roll out a LoRaWAN network. According to its web site the network now covers 80 percent of New Zealanders including Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Napier, Whanganui, Palmerston North, Wellington, Greymouth, Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill and "Rollout is in progress towards our goal of complete national coverage."