What makes them different are the possible downsides. LoRa – rolled out in Belgium by Proximus – is part of an alliance that focuses predominantly on Europe and has a national scope. So, when your device crosses the border, you’ll need another contract with a national telecom operator. Sigfox is rolling out its network worldwide and has partnered with Engie in Belgium. A disadvantage of their business model is that all agreements have to be made exclusively with Sigfox. The French company owns all the technology—from the backend data and cloud server to the endpoints software.
One challenge they both share is the ability to provide for software updates on the devices. Since they both make use of low bandwidths – from 865 to 868 MHz –, they were designed for sending small data packages. That forces users, for now at least, to equip their devices with GPRS or 3G technology to allow regular software updates.