SFR formalizes the launch of its network


On the occasion of the Sido show in Lyon, the operator specifies the details of its offer. Its LTE-M network will cover 99% of the French population by the end of 2022.

[Mis à jour le jeudi 15 septembre à 10h45] SFR officially presents to its customers, on the occasion of Sido, its LTE-M network. The French operator, which announced last April its desire to offer this IoT network (read our interview “SFR Business will deploy LTE-M”), worked with several equipment manufacturers to make its project a reality. Since the end of August, the major conurbations in the south of France have been covered. The north-west region and the large agglomerations in the north are almost entirely deployed, only the north-east of France will be missing. The goal is to cover 99% of the population by the end of the year. The first customers have already requested test cards for three months in order to validate the configuration of their terminal and the coverage, before placing an order. “We have packages that range from 500 kilobytes to 1 gigabyte. The prices are decreasing according to the quantity of connected objects deployed”, specifies Philippe Mermet, IoT marketing manager at SFR. The operator has included NB-IoT in LTE-M subscriptions. “For customers who have objects supporting both technologies, this will allow them to quickly switch from one technology to another depending on the use case or the context, for example for a specific need for more throughput for a firmware update of their objects”, adds Philippe Mermet. Roaming agreements will soon be put in place by SFR with foreign operators in order to offer customers international coverage.

What is the LTE-M network?

LTE-M (Long-Term Evolution for Machines) was designed for the IoT. Standardized and sustainable, this network uses existing 4G networks and operates on low frequencies (typically 800 MHz) and thanks to the CAT-M1 protocol which improves the accessibility of all connected objects. LTE-M also optimizes the energy consumption of these objects thanks, among other things, to standby (Power Saving Mode). It is also a secure solution since it is based on the authentication of SIM cards. Each operator uses its own licensed frequencies.

LTE-M VS NB-IoT

LTE-M differs from NB-IoT by lower latency, better throughput and better mobility management. it corresponds to uses generally requiring larger volumes of data, for example for connected security systems, or for mobile use. With better energy efficiency and higher indoor penetration, NB-loT (NarrowBand Internet of Things) remains better suited to massive deployments of fixed battery-powered objects, such as connected water or gas meters. For SFR, “the two technologies are complementary, each responds to different use cases”, explains Philippe Mermet, IoT marketing manager. at SFR.

Network coverage in France

In 2019, the operator Orange claimed to cover 98% of the French population in LTE-M. In September 2021, Bouygues Telecom announced the launch of its LTE-M network. SFR followed a year later, presenting its offer in September 2022.

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