Telefonica bags €1.78 bn UK smart meter (m2m) deal

Telefonica UK has been awarded the €1.78 bn (£1.5 bn) contract to deliver smart meter communications services in the UK.

The company has signed 15 year agreement with the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and represents the industry’s largest M2M contract deal.

Telefonica UK has been awarded two out of the three communications service provider lots within the overall UK Smart Meter Implementation Programme (SMIP).

The initiative is the world’s most ambitious smart meter m2m roll out will see over 53 mn smart meters installed across the UK by 2020. The £11 bn programme is expected to deliver a net benefit to the UK of £6.7 bn through reduced energy consumption and more efficient management and deployment of energy across the country.

It is estimated that a smart meter enabled industry could save 2bn tonnes of CO2 a year in 2020.

Telefonica UK will provide communications infrastructure to connect smart meters in the central and southern regions of Great Britain. The technology solution which was successfully selected by DECC is primarily based on Telefonica UK’s existing cellular network complimented with mesh technology used to provide connections in hard to reach areas.

The combination of cellular and mesh represents the ideal communications technology for smart meter deployments. Cellular is a proven, open, standards-based technology that is ready to support the needs of smart meters without needing additional infrastructure whereas Mesh compliments cellular, providing coverage in more remote areas and in hard to reach spaces.

Telefonica has successfully tested both technologies in relation to smart meters and already connects over 400,000 smart meters in Great Britain via cellular, while the mesh solution has been successfully implemented in over 650,000 households in the Nordics.

Commenting on the deal, Matthew Key, chief executive, Telefonica Digital said, “The Internet of things has the potential to transform society and we hope Telefonica Digital will be at the heart of this. Smart meters are a perfect example; they will become the foundation of a revolution in energy consumption and management, helping consumers and businesses to more efficiently manage their energy usage with significant economic and environmental benefits.”

With the agreements now in place, Telefonica will immediately start working with the Data Communications Company (Smart DCC Limited) and the other successful service providers to design, build and test the solution. Mass roll out of smart meters will commence during 2015.

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