Raco sees new M2M opportunities in carrier platforms, 2G connections

Offering telecoms carriers a configurable software platform and maintaining 2G connectivity for managing M2M applications are key to the growth plans of North American MVNO Raco Wireless, according to company president John Horn.

Raco (Cincinnati, OH, USA) recently purchased platform provider Position Logic and its LBS platform, and has recently formed roaming agreements with Sprint (Overland Park, KS, USA), EE (Hatfield, UK) and Telefonica (Madrid, Spain) to give itself a larger global footprint.

Sprint joins Jasper Wireless (Mountain View, CA, USA), Kore (Alpharetta, GA, USA) and Telenor (Fornebu, Norway) – among others – in taking software platforms built to manage enterprise deployments and repurposing them for managing network operations for carriers.

“The Position Logic platform is highly configurable – it will become a white-label product for carriers in the very near future,” says Horn. He maintains the company is finalizing agreements with several carriers, and that there is special interest from Latin America.

Raco is also adding carriers – most recently Sprint in the US – in an effort to ensure that 2G connectivity remains reliable for its customers.

“As AT&T turns off its 2G network, and T-Mobile’s 2G capability does not expand, there will be some customers in certain areas of the US that will go dark,” says Horn. “If they want to stay with 2G connectivity, they need to consider Sprint 2G, CDMA devices. If that’s not an option, they need to move up the food chain.”

Horn maintains that there are plenty of new M2M deployments being rolled out for 2G.

The majority of Raco’s customers are interested in expanding globally, and the company’s 2G-orientation makes it more attractive to anybody interested in an international footprint.

At the same time, he is less sure about the viability of 3G connectivity for M2M applications.

“If people want to future-proof their product, 3G may be an option for a while,” says Horn. “If they need more bandwidth than traditional M2M products, my advice is to go straight to 4G.”

“No one is building out 3G networks anywhere in North America,” he adds. “Internationally, the situation is much different – there’s not the same pressure to go to 4G, or to turn off 2G – they don’t have the same spectrum constraints.”