south korea city skyline

South Korea’s economy hangs in the balance. Pic: Wikimedia Commons

South Korea just launched LoraWAN, its first Internet of Things network

SOUTH KOREA’S leading network operator SK Telecom has announced the launch of the country’s first commercial Internet of Things (IoT) network, which will cover 90 percent of Korean territory.

The network, called LoRaWAN, allows smart devices to “talk” to each other, by transmitting small amounts of data at very low speeds. LoRaWAN stands for long-range wide-area network.

Users who wish to subscribe to the IoT network have to pay monthly prices that range from 350 won (US$0.30) to 2000 won (US$1.72). According to SK Telecom’s press release, they also plan to offer special prices to support SMEs.

The network operator will be investing almost 100 billion won by the end of 2017 to develop LoRaWAN’s infrastructure, hoping it will become a new source of revenue.

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Lee Hyung-hee, president of SK Telecom’s mobile network business, told the Korea Herald: “Our nationwide IoT network system will open up a new ecosystem for new businesses, services and infrastructure to thrive in.”

According to the International Business Times, the LoRaWAN network will push South Korea further towards the digital age. The country already has one of the fastest internet speeds in the world, and the launch of the network combined with their already-strong long term evolution (LTE) standard, means that 99 percent of the population will be connected to the internet.

SK Telecom is also planning to develop other services which involve “metering, tracking and monitoring”, such as a ‘safe watch’ in collaboration with local governments to keep track of children and the elderly.

They also want to launch 20 LoRa-based IoT services by the end of this year, including a “manhole monitoring service” and a “real-time shared parking service”.