Sigfox is in financial trouble

While there are many LPWAN standards, in recent years, we wrote mostly about LoRaWAN, NB-IoT & LTE Cat M1/2, as well as Sigfox to a lesser extent. The company managing the latter, also called Sigfox appears to be in financial trouble with the company placed in “redressement judiciaire”, a court-supervised business recovery/turnaround procedure in French law that looks to be similar to Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US, and sometimes also translated as “receivership”.

LTE IoT standards like NB-IoT and Cat M1/M2 rely on the vast infrastructure established for phones, while LoRaWAN allows the community and private companies to build their own network with gateways, but Sigfox decided to build and own their network and charge a monthly/yearly fee per device to access the network.

Sigfox coverage

Sigfox has extensive coverage in Europe, South Africa, Japan and South Korea, New Zealand, and part of South East Asia, but more sporadic coverage in other regions and countries such as South and North America, Australia, Russia, etc… So I initially thought one of the reasons for the financial trouble may be because of the lack of coverage, and customers would have to rely on Sigfox to create a gateway in locations where it’s needed, while with LoRaWAN or cellular IoT, it’s easy to roll your own or enable it from a base station.

But according to an article on “Notre Temps“, Sigfox blames COVID-19 and semiconductor shortage with a “slowdown of the business activity during the last two years, and a market experiencing a shortage of electronic components for several months”. Those two factors are said to “have heavily weighed upon the financial situation of the company, and especially on its level of indebtedness”.

The receivership covers both Sigfox and its subsidiary, Sigfox France SAS (operator in France), and starts with an initial period of 6 months to find new owners with a plan to maintain the job of most of ~350 employees still remaining with the company.

Via Lup Yuen Lee

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Jacques
3 months ago

Sigfox made a terrible bet as if we were still in the dotcom bubble. It’s completely irresponsible for anyone to rely on a technology which forces you to be reliant on a single operator, I actually wonder how they ever managed to get that many customers (they probably didn’t realise how dependent they were). Running a nationwide network costs a lot of money. A lot. That’s fine as long as you have gullible investors, but once funding stops, it just doesn’t work. Sigfox financials are just fall-on-your-a** horrible. In 2020, they had an operating loss of 20 million euros for… Read more »

Tof
Tof
3 months ago

Well it was a bit predictable… It is not a matter of technology but rather a matter of governance. Just check who is at the head of the board since 2015. Someone who was at the head of Areva (Frenh nuclear group). That person let the company with a 4.5 billion Euros debt (including a scam “Uramine” of 2 billions Euros) that finally the taxpayers have to carry the cost. That person left Areva with a golden parachute of 1.5 million Euros and the protection of the political network, while the justice and journalists revealed bad gouvernance and participation to… Read more »

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