HomeCoinsHelium (HNT)The Sun is Setting on 3G; Why IoT Users Should Switch to...

The Sun is Setting on 3G; Why IoT Users Should Switch to Helium. | by Jacob Swinn | Dec, 2021

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For years, centralized telcos have had a stranglehold on the wireless network landscape, leaving IoT users little choice other than to commit to long-term, expensive contracts that leave many users paying for services they don’t need. Major carriers and ISPs have also been notorious for selling customer data and browsing history, almost always without consent.

Private LoRaWAN networks, while providing more privacy, are expensive to set up and run, with the need for infrastructure and hardware. Until recently, IoT users have had limited network options for operating devices and transferring data.

However, without a viable network alternative that can provide widespread global coverage, customers have had nowhere to turn.

Enter Helium.

The People’s Network’s open-source protocol has led to the creation of the world’s largest contiguous wireless network, quite literally built by the people, for the people. The Network provides a secure and cost-effective way for IoT devices to send data to and from the Internet.

The Helium Blockchain upon which the Network is built ensures both complete transparency as well as privacy of users’ data. Additionally, due to Helium’s rapidly-growing coverage (nearly 100K Hotspots have come online in the last 30 days alone, with hundreds of thousands more on order), the need to purchase and deploy network infrastructure is practically eliminated, creating an easy-to-use, efficient, and cost-effective network option for IoT users.

Key reasons for IoT users to choose Helium over 4G and other private networks include the low cost associated with using the Network as well as the long battery life for devices.

Cost can be broken down into two major areas: hardware and monthly data transfer.

Cost of Hardware

As a whole, LoRa hardware is nearly always going to be cheaper than hardware used for cellular due to, among other things, fewer components needed for a LoRa device (notably, LoRa devices don’t require a SIM card like devices running on cell). The average cost of GPS trackers today is around $100; these can sometimes be cheaper when the user is locked into a contract, but this also means that the user could be stuck paying a premium for solutions and services that they don’t need.

In comparison, high-performing LoRa trackers can be purchased for around $50 without the hassle of a contract. The Helium Network’s fast-growing coverage means that users will not necessarily need to purchase gateways, making it the logical choice for IoT users looking for an affordable network option.

Cost of Monthly Data Transfer

Helium users only pay based on usage. The cost of an IoT device sending data every five minutes on the Helium Network comes out to just over $1 per year. By contrast, the industry average for GPS trackers is around $10 per year per device.

According to LoneStar Tracking CTO Thomas Remmert, one of the company’s most popular use cases on the Helium Network is the tracking of industrial dumpsters. These dumpsters are typically in urban areas where Helium coverage is very strong, and with thousands of dumpsters being tracked, the high costs that would come with the use of cellular trackers would not allow for any profit. However, by utilizing LoRa trackers running on the Helium Network for $1 per year, LoneStar has found an affordable and accurate tracking solution that would be impossible on a cellular network.

Long Battery Life

Cellular IoT devices are notoriously power-hungry and have short battery lives. LoRa devices that operate on the Helium Network, such as the Yabby Edge tracker from Digital Matter, can last up to twelve years on just two AAA batteries, showing a significant increase in performance and low-power consumption.

With over 380K hotspots in more than 29K cities and 153+ countries around the world, Helium has become the network of choice for both major carriers and up-and-coming solutions providers. Helium’s ever-expanding list of partners currently includes:


  • Actility: A worldwide leader in IoT connectivity solutions. Companies using Actility include Volvo Group, Cisco, Accenture, Schneider Electric, and more.
  • Senet: A leading provider of cloud-based software and services platforms that enable global connectivity and on-demand network build-outs for the Internet of Things (IoT). Senet customers represent well over one billion transactions processed on the Senet network annually.

5G Network

  • DISH: The first major carrier in the telco industry to extend the Helium Network with customers deploying their own 5G CBRS-based Hotspots.

Smart City

  • City of San José: The first city to officially join the rapidly-growing Helium ecosystem, San José is deploying Helium-compatible Hotspots in order to increase internet access for more than 1300 low-income households.

Solutions Providers

  • Helium’s constantly-growing ecosystem of solutions providers and hardware makers includes companies developing use cases for verticals such as Asset Tracking, Smart Cities, Smart Agriculture, Supply Chain/Logistics, Environmental Monitoring, and many more.


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