The UK’s Three has made further progress on growing its M2M business through a new wholesale deal with data airtime provider Mobius.
Under the partnership, Mobius (Coalville, UK) will use Three Wholesale’s network to provide connectivity and NFC services for devices used in the retail and hospitality industry.
The operator says its “ultrafast” network will power NFC and contactless payment terminals used to process customer orders and transactions and also serve as a back-up for fixed-line data connections during outages.
“The M2M market is going ultrafast,” said Lynda Burton, the director of Three Wholesale. “Businesses are seeking longevity in their connectivity solutions, speeds that often exceed local fixed lines and tariffs that support large data consumption.”
Unlike the country’s other network operators, Three (Maidenhead, UK) has no legacy 2G infrastructure, which is typically used to support a number of M2M services, and is keen to promote the advantages of its 3G network, describing the “high data M2M market” as a key focus area.
The drawback of 3G is that module and other equipment costs are higher, which is problematic given that average revenue per user generated by M2M services is often very low.
Nevertheless, M2M interest in 3G and, indeed, 4G technology appears to be growing as operators look to shut down older networks to save costs.
Japan’s operators have already stopped maintaining 2G networks, while both AT&T (Dallas, TX, USA) and Verizon Wireless (New York City, NY, USA) in the US have announced plans to shut down their own 2G systems by 2020.
Three’s network is currently based on HSPA+ – a superfast version of 3G – but the operator is due to launch 4G LTE services later this year.
Mobius claims that the faster network technologies are also more secure, explaining its choice of Three as an M2M partner.
“The latest connected devices face a serious threat from hackers and criminals,” said Douglas Gilmour, the managing director of Mobius. “It is therefore important to make sure retailers and restaurants use a secure service to protect their customers’ data. A fast, reliable network is required for this, which is why we partnered with Three.”