Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Telekom Austria looks long term with Europe's first LTE smart meter

By Nick Wood, Total Telecom, in Barcelona
Wednesday 04 March 15

Operator partners with ZTE and meter maker Kaifa; takes 20-year view on smart meter product cycle.

Telekom Austria on Wednesday launched Europe's first LTE smart meter, a move prompted by the need for a long-term approach to machine-to-machine (M2M) devices. The Austrian incumbent's new smart meter was developed in partnership with Chinese vendor ZTE and Chinese meter specialist Kaifa…

Telekom Austria on Wednesday launched Europe's first LTE smart meter, a move prompted by the need for a long-term approach to machine-to-machine (M2M) devices.

The Austrian incumbent's new smart meter was developed in partnership with Chinese vendor ZTE and Chinese meter specialist Kaifa. Designed for residential use, it connects to Telekom Austria's LTE 2.6-GHz and LTE 800-MHz networks, as well as its GPRS 1800-MHz and GPRS 900-MHz networks.

The estimated lifetime of a smart meter is 10-20 years, explained Bernd Liebscher, managing director of Telekom Austria's M2M business.

"By then, our LTE 800 [MHz] network coverage will be even better than our GPRS 900 [MHZ] network," he said, noting that in 20 years, many operators may even have decommissioned their 2G networks in order to refarm the spectrum.

"The main reason for [an] LTE [smart meter] then is longevity," he said.

Furthermore, integrating an LTE 800-MHz antenna means that the device can reasonably be expected to work in rural and remote locations.

"The Austrian topography makes it important to use connected meters," Liebscher said.

In addition, the Austrian government's electricity directive requires at least 80% of consumers to use a smart meter by 2020.

Liebscher said Telekom Austria is also eyeing Serbia's smart metering market. Contracts there are up for tender this year.

"We are starting with trials," he said, without providing further details.
 

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