At least 5 million electricity meters will be connected to GPRS networks in the Nordic region by 2010, according to a new report released by the telecom research firm Berg Insight. Regulatory requirements and increasing competition in the energy industry is creating a mass market for automated meter reading solutions in Sweden, Denmark and Finland, worth several billion euros. Leading energy companies in the region are teaming up with IT and telecom companies to ensure that electricity customers get accurate energy bills based on actual power consumption.
Tobias Ryberg, principal analyst at Berg Insight, estimates that the number of remotely read electricity meters in the Nordic region will grow from less than 1 million in 2005 to over 8 million in 2010. He also believes that a majority of the upgraded meters will be connected to mobile networks. “During 2004 there was an evident shift in favour of mobile data solutions. Our current forecasts indicate a market share of 60 percent for GPRS in the Nordic market in the coming years.” Power line communication and unlicensed radio frequencies are the main competing technologies.
Tobias says mobile operators already participate in several major projects. TeliaSonera has begun connecting 350,000 meters to its GSM-network in Finland as part of a contract signed with Vattenfall in October 2004. Denmark’s leading power utility NESA cooperates with Telenor’s subsidiary Sonofon around the deployment of 530,000 meters with GPRS connectivity until 2010. Vodafone is partnering with the leading electricity meter vendor Actaris to bring GPRS based metering solutions to the Swedish market.