Thanks in part to patented technologies, the network can cover as much as 200 square miles from one tower, Horn said. That will make it faster and cheaper to build than a traditional cellular network.
Ingenu says it can give enterprises more assurance with its network because it's based on Ingenu's own technology and built specifically for IoT. The idea is that just as carriers are phasing out 2G now, they'll phase out 3G in a few years and eventually will replace LTE with 5G to serve speed-hungry smartphone users. IoT operates on a different time frame from the cellular business, with devices set up in the field for as long as a decade between hardware upgrades or battery replacements.
As an IoT specialist, Ingenu may look like a better bet to some enterprises, Machina's Chua said. But that bet will only pay off if Ingenu and its still-nascent network is still in business in 10 years. The big carriers, on the other hand, are pretty sure to be around a while.
In the long run, the competition in LPWA networks is good news for enterprises that need better and cheaper IoT, Chua said. "The space is getting crowded, but crowded is good, because that's what pushes innovation along."
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