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Tele2 boosts IoT platform with IBM and other partners

Nordic telco and M2M platform-as-a-service (PaaS) provider Tele2 has made a string of announcements recently, which collectively show the firm switching its focus to the IoT in the face of increased cellular competition in eastern Europe and saturated markets in the west.

The announcements span an IoT partnership with IBM; the unveiling of plans to launch a LoRa network in Gothenburg, Sweden; and a contract win with the 1-Fleet Alliance – a group of European telematics service providers.

The deal with IBM aims to speed up the process and lower the barrier to entry for IoT projects at European businesses. IBM will harness its powerful Watson IoT platform and Global Business Solution (GBS) consulting services, combining them with Tele2’s connectivity technologies and services.

The pair say they will be offering an IoT Starter Kit which includes SIM cards and an integration into IBM Bluemix cloud app platform – for connecting devices to Big Blue’s analytics and application platforms. Bluemix also has extensive integrations with ARM’s mbed OS, meaning there’s a ready supply of suitable hardware on hand.

Tele2 will also be looking to bring itself, its customers, and its partners the opportunity to test, use and develop business models and applications using the LoRa network set to roll out in the Greater Gothenburg area. This type of network has obvious benefits for connected devices using low bandwidth as they can last several years on a single battery, with minimal hardware costs.

The IoT network build-out, set to be up and running from Q3 this year, is in collaboration with Talkpool, a company that assists operators and vendors in planning and maintaining mobile and fixed networks as well as deploying LPWANs.

The final announcement from Tele2 this week was its contract win at the 1-Fleet Alliance, which it claims to have tipped nine other competing companies to in the race for the prize. The three-year deal involves the delivery of over 150,000 SIM cards to Alliance members to support telematics services such as fleet management. 1-Fleet has some 24,000 customers with 403,000 tracking units currently in operation.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Tele2’s M2M division launched a new IoT portal, designed to combine IoT solutions into a single user interface – Microsoft, Telit and PTC’s ThingWorx have signed up to be integrated into this offering.

Back in January 2015, the operator announced a deal with the Netherlands’ Aerea to add Sigfox to the Tele2 platform in addition to its cellular M2M offering.

Rami Avidan, MD at Tele2 IoT, said, “IBM’s industry leading solutions combined with Tele2’s IoT competence will help clients on their IoT journey and allow them to introduce new revenue models, reduce time to market and lower operational costs.”

Commenting on the plans for a LoRa network in Gothenburg, Avidan added, “we are convinced that our customers will need a wide range of new technologies in the IoT field and at Tele2, we want to give them the opportunity to use as many of these new technologies as possible in ways that are both simple and flexible. This launch is a step in that direction.”

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