Net 1 Scandinavia: transforming rural businesses through M2M connectivity

Scandinavian operator Net 1 proves that size doesn’t matter. With a CDMA 450MHz network, the small provider facilitates secure machine-to-machine communication across some of the most inhospitable areas of northern Europe.

The vast distances and extreme terrain of northern Scandinavia pose obvious operator challenges for network coverage, quality and cost efficiency.

That’s why the niche operator, which primarily targets enterprise customers, turned to CDMA 450MHz. Net 1 provides secure, cost-effective machine-to-machine connectivity over mobile broadband to businesses and services across the region. Its customers include forestry and related industries; energy and hydroelectric power companies, plus associated smart grids; and icebreakers that clear shipping passages.

When Ericsson reentered the CDMA market in 2009, Net 1 immediately made contact about swapping out its network for a new, better quality network, as Gösta Kallner, Net 1’s Chief Operations Officer, explains:

"Ericsson’s move was music to our ears," he says. "We knew instantly that we’d found the ideal partner to help achieve our vision. We are a young, entrepreneurial and innovative company, so it makes perfect sense for us to work with a solid, stable and dependable partner. That’s what we got with Ericsson that we didn’t have before."

Challenges included replacing the previous vendors’ networks with one Ericsson network. A single-vendor network means better opex and fewer interfaces for the operator. But Net 1 also wanted more than a straight swap-out.

"Our customers had lots of requirements," Kallner says. "Terrain was simply not allowed to be a barrier. Working with Ericsson, we developed and implemented eight new features that were firsts for the technology. We were able to deliver exactly what our customers wanted and they are delighted."

Impressive coverage

The coverage from the resulting network of about 800 base stations tops 90 percent of Denmark, Sweden and Norway – more than 790,000sq km – across archipelagoes, dense forest, fjords, mountains and coastline. A team of about 50 Ericsson and Net 1 employees worked together on the rollout from May to December 2010.

"As a niche operator focusing on machine-to-machine communication, we don’t need any more base stations as we don’t have mass person-to-person communication and related services," Kallner says. "The reduced number of base stations helps us pass on cost benefits to our customers."

Net 1’s customers include Vattenfall, one of Europe’s largest energy companies, to which it provides telemetric solutions; global hygiene and paper company SCA, the largest private forestry owner in Sweden; ambulances, including air ambulances; and icebreakers operating in Norwegian waters, which also deliver data to shipping.

"Each customer internally exchanges data enabling them to optimize their time, and improve processes and cost efficiency. We’re now looking at service advancements, such as Voice over IP.

"It allows our customers to optimize the use of their resources because they can see exactly who is needed where and when for particular tasks or assignments."

SCA praise for network’s M2M benefits

Magnus Bergman, Chief Technical Officer for SCA Skog (SCA’s forestry division), says CDMA 450MHz has made a huge difference since the company’s recent uptake of the technology.

"Net 1’s machine-to-machine connectivity across our fleet means we can precisely coordinate the cutting, collection, transport and delivery of logs," he says. "It has improved our economic and environmental results and transformed our industry. We can harvest, or protect, any specific tree out of the tens of millions we own."

Charlotta Sund, head of Ericsson’s Customer Unit Baltic Sea, says: "The close working partnership between Net 1 and Ericsson means we’ve always had honest dialog built on solid trust. The results are impressive and show the value of CDMA 450MHz."

Sustainability benefits case study: SCA

Helps protect areas of high conservation value – as specific as a single tree

Daily collection of data feeds into forestry management plans

Optimizing delivery of logs to production facilities means reduction in the amount of chemicals used in paper making

Optimized forest-based order processing means less waste material

Optimizing delivery of logs to production facilities means reduction in the amount of chemicals used

Customer Objective

Extend rural coverage under extreme environmental conditions with quality and reliability

Increase overall network capacity to meet future projected growth

Enable IP Backhaul from Radio Base Station to Radio Network Controller.

Ericsson Solution

Ericsson CDMA 450MHz products for reliability, quality and security

Complete CDMA network modernization, including replacement of 400 base stations

Superior coverage performance from the base stations

Complete Radio Network Controller elements to manage more than 1000 radio base stations

EVDO Rev B and Voice over IP with ‘Quality of Service’ feature functionality

Services expertise for network rollout, optimization and interoperability testing.

Customer Benefits

Reliabale and stable broadband service under adverse conditions

Improved network quality with increased data througput for Net 1 customers

Improved competititive position with the capability to deliver advanced services not available using the previous network

Ability to grow the subscriber base with agility Improve Net 1 customers’ productivity and social responsibility through continuous connectivity and coverage

More than 90 percent geographic mobile broadband coverage across Denmark, Sweden and Norway, aided by use of ‘Boomer’ cells

About Net 1, Scandinavia

Niche operator Net 1 specializes in data communication and machine-to-machine services in rural Denmark, Sweden and Norway over a CDMA 450MHz mobile broadband network. The company has its headquarters in Stockholm.

Formed in 2009 from what was formerly, Net 1 has 65 employees, with a technical staff of just nine.

The company’s CDMA 450MHz network covers more than 90 percent of the land mass of Norway, Sweden and Denmark – topping 790,000sq km and including some of the most inaccessible terrain in northern Europe.

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