Telstra and Intellihub Reach $100 Million Smart Meter Deal

Telstra and Intellihub

Telstra to add 4 million new SIMs to IoT network with smart meter deal

Telstra has signed a $100 million deal to supply over 4 million SIMs for Intellihub smart meters. Intellihub is a utility company that operates in both Australia and New Zealand, and also supplies smart meters and metering services to close to 40 utility companies in the region. As a result of the deal, Telstra’s supply of SIMs will also expand to those nearly 40 energy companies that Intellihub services.   

According to Telstra Enterprise Group Executive David Burns, Telstra already boasts of over 5 million devices connected to its IoT network. This latest deal with Intellihub stretches over a 10-year span where the telco can add up to 4.1 million new SIMs to its IoT network. And the best part? Telstra’s SIMs will be hard wired into the smart meters by the manufacturer, ensuring the Telstra network gains fully from any related IoT services. 

While Telstra’s benefits are clear, Intellihub also has a lot to gain – the utility company will supply smart meters and communications hubs/devices to Telstra Energy customers. Telstra Energy is expected to become a retail energy reality sometime this year.

What’s the big deal about smart meters?

Australia recently became the third largest renewable energy market in the world, according to recent research by consultancy firm EY. The spike results from the widespread adoption of solar energy throughout the country. In fact, the report ranks Australia as having the largest rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) deployment per capita in the world, with more than 10,000 gigawatts deployed.

With such huge potential for renewable energy adoption, Australians will need to analyze their energy consumption for better efficiency. Meters will need to be equipped to monitor and gather data about both on-grid and off-grid energy supplies in order to boost efficiency. This is where smart meters come in.

Smart meters monitor and analyze energy usage, and they’ve become a mainstay for consumers who want to reduce their energy consumption while on the grid. But while smart meters were once created to give insight to energy suppliers about customer usage and billing, newer smart meters now allow customers to monitor and manage their energy usage as well. These newer smart meters allow for two-way communication – customer and energy supplier – as opposed to previous one-way meter monitoring.

With solar energy becoming quite popular, smart meters are growing in importance. Intellihub CEO Wes Ballantine describes the usefulness of smart meters with a great example, stating that customers who wish to sell excess solar energy back to the grid can’t do so in real time if they don’t have smart meters. The real-time communications capabilities of smart meters allow such customers sell their excess solar energy back to the grid when the price is high – as opposed to just selling it without any knowledge of real-time price movements.

Why Telstra is the right partner for Intellihub smart meters

Intellihub could have partnered with other telcos, but they decided to work on a deal with Telstra – one that took 12 to 18 months, according to Mr. Ballantine. Perhaps Telstra was the obvious choice for several reasons, when compared to the other major telcos.

Telstra became carbon neutral 2 years ago, certified by Climate Active. The telco has emphasized its support for sustainability, and is acting on that emphasis with concrete actions. For instance, while Telstra uses energyequivalent to around 300,000 homes, the telco also generates renewable energy that’s worth over 30 percent of its usage.

Telstra also has the leading IoT network with over 5 million devices connected. There are already 500,000 smart meters connected to Telstra’s network, and the new smart meter deal will add up to 4.1 million more SIMs over 10 years. The telco has invested heavily in IoT-friendly infrastructure, with its NB-IoT covering around 4 million square kilometers, and LTE-M covering around 3 million square kilometers.   

And then there is Telstra Energy – the telco’s answer to the retail energy market. Telstra Energy is expected to launch some time this year, bringing affordable renewable energy to Australian homes. The telco has already secured energy licenses from NSW, South-East Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, and the ACT, and ambitions to become a top-5 energy provider in the next 4 years. And when Telstra Energy launches, Intellihub will handle its metering services – a huge incentive.

Telstra’s sustainability plans make them a great fit for Intellihub. The telco believes it can use data from the IoT SIMs to tap into consumer behaviour and improve efficiency. Such data will undoubtedly be valuable for its own Telstra Energy services.

Summing up

Telstra’s sustainability pledge has taken a huge step forward with this Intellihub smart meter deal. Alternative energy is growing in Australia, and people are interested in finding more ways to get the most out of their renewable energy systems. Smart meters can help in that regard, and with Telstra SIMs hard-wired into smart meters, the telco will see a huge boost to its IoT network.

Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.