SK Telecom is expanding its Internet of Things hybrid connectivity with the addition of a new nationwide network called Long-term Evolution Cat.M1, to be commercialized starting in April.
The new network will supplement the existing LoRa and LTE Cat.1 networks, handling mid-tier data between the small data handled by the LoRa network and the larger data connected through Cat.1, also known as LTE-M.
The Cat.M1 network can transmit data at speeds up to 300 Kbps over the existing LTE network, meaning that unlike LoRa the network will be able to service voice data as well as high-resolution photos.
Smaller Internet of Things data such as sensor data are optimally sent over the LoRa network, while videos can only be supported by Cat.1.
LTE Cat.M1 is more energy-efficient than LTE-M and utilizes modules at lower prices, meaning that IoT services that use data larger than that supported by LoRa but were not economical at the LTE-M level becomes possible with Cat.M1.
For example, SK Telecom will be showcasing an IoT black box and blood sugar tester using the LTE Cat.M1 network at the Mobile World Congress beginning Feb. 26. Both those services were not economical using the LTE-M network because they require constant connectivity but transmit relatively small amounts of data.
The IoT black box sends real-time images from a car‘s black box to a user’s phone, while the blood sugar tester allows for real-time continuous collection of patient data.