Sigfox South Africa has officially launched operations, taking over the Internet of Things network assets previously belonging to SqwidNet.
SqwidNet was on the verge of shuttering after showing low revenue growth over the past few years.
To keep the network online while working on a solution, parent company Community Investment Ventures Holdings (CIVH) started retrenching staff in June 2021.
SqwidNet launched in November 2016 as a wholly-owned Dark Fibre Africa (DFA) subsidiary.
It deployed an ultra-narrowband Internet of Things (IoT) radio network based on Sigfox technology.
CIVH owns DFA and fibre-to-the-home network operator Vumatel.
To save South Africa’s Sigfox network, SqwidNet’s major customers stepped up and bought stakes in the newly-formed Sigfox South Africa.
CIVH remains invested in the network but is joined by Discovery Insure, Fidelity ADT, Macrocomm, and Buffet Investments.
“We’ve taken past lessons to heart and understood that our customers are loyal and proactive because they appreciate the tangible value Massive IoT creates for them and their customers,” said CIVH Group CEO Raymond Ndlovu.
Ndlovu will serve as a non-executive director of Sigfox SA.
“In the technology sector, you evolve with risks and remain cognisant of relevant, dynamic innovation. This is the ethos of Sigfox South Africa,” Ndlovu said.
Sumeshin Naidoo is Sigfox SA’s chief commercial officer and heads up the company.
Andrew Heuvel will stay on as chief technology officer, along with Sean Laval, who will serve as executive of network operations.
Sigfox South Africa said its fully-licensed national 0G network is considered tier 1 among global operators, covering 95% of the country’s population and 90% of national roads.
It also stated that a restructuring like the one SqwidNet has undergone is not unusual in the IoT market.
“As a case in point, the Sigfox 0G technology has been recently acquired by UnaBiz,” Sigfox SA said.
UnaBiz started as the Sigfox 0G network operators in Singapore and Taiwan.
“UnaBiz is pleased to welcome Sigfox South Africa to the global 0G Network Operator community,” said UnaBiz CEO and co-founder Henri Bong.
“We look forward to working closely with Sigfox South Africa to bring down the cost and complexity of massive IoT adoption in many sectors, including energy, manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, [and] logistics”.