SP AusNet has selected Ericsson to develop and implement a 3G network-enabled communications solution to support its electricity smart meter program.

The company intends to extend its existing smart meter footprint with an Ericsson solution that uses public 3G mobile networks and will reach a further 108,000 meters in outer urban and rural areas.

SP AusNet’s Director of Market Services Simon Hastings says: “Our partnership with Ericsson to develop a 3G solution provides a cost-effective means for customers in low-density, regional areas to access the benefits of smart meters.

Head of Ericsson Australia and New Zealand Håkan Eriksson says: “This Australian smart grid solution is a first in combining an existing 3G network, a 3G-enabled smart meter module, a purpose-built meter management system and the systems integration required to pull it all together.

“The utilization of secure public wireless networks to support smart grids is significant as it allows utilities to focus on delivering energy to homes and businesses by minimizing the task of managing a complex communications network.”

The solution designed by Ericsson is fast to deploy and a very cost-effective way to roll out wireless-enabled smart meters.

Ericsson’s team of Australia-based, experienced service professionals have been engaged from inception to completion in this systems integration and rollout project. The 3G smart meter modules have been designed, developed and manufactured to fit into smart meters chosen by SP AusNet. The design is able to be modified to work with other vendors’ metering solutions.

“By leveraging 3G and LTE 3GPP standards-based technology, utilities developing smart grids can access the benefits from the ecosystem and economies of scale enabled by the global telecom sector,” Eriksson says.

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