1NCE, a company based in Cologne, Germany, that is aiming to provide flat-rate IoT connectivity and roaming on a global basis, has drawn a new equity investment from Japan’s SoftBank Corp., which also signed an exclusive deal to distribute 1NCE’s services in 19 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
1NCE expects to be offering services in the region by early fall, according to a company spokesman, and plans to open sales offices and technical operations in Singapore and Tokyo to expand its capabilities to Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The spokesman declined to comment on the financial details of the investment. The latest funding came from Softbank’s investment arm, and the spokesman said that its stake in 1NCE is now equal to that of Softbank’s mobile network operator unit, which participated in a $50 million funding round last year that also involved 1NCE co-founder and German network operator Deutsche Telekom.
In seeking to provide some consistency and affordability for companies with broadly distributed IoT assets, 1NCE has noted that 80% of IoT projects require multinational deployments, and that many mobile network operators are falling short of meeting these needs on their own, or through complex roaming agreements negotiated with other operators.
The market opportunity may be bigger in Asia than anywhere else. “Asia is by far the biggest market for cellular-connected IoT,” said Matt Hatton of Transforma Insights, in a statement. “According to the Transforma Insights TAM Forecast database, collectively the 19 countries covered by the cooperation accounted for 57% of cellular IoT annual shipments in 2021, and will represent more than half of the world’s cellular IoT connections for at least the next decade.”
1NCE, in partnership with network operators, has presence in more than 110 countries, including the U.S., with plans to expand its footprint to more than 140 by the end of 2022.
“1NCE is the only company that can deliver true cross-border, future-proof IoT connectivity without uncertainty – a perfect extension of SoftBank Corp.’s existing IoT portfolio,” said Daichi Nozaki, Vice President, Head of Global Business Division, Enterprise Business Unit at SoftBank Corp, in a statement. “We’ve closely followed 1NCE’s strong U.S. launch earlier this year and expect the same explosive growth in the underserved APAC region.”
“With our existing Hong Kong office and with SoftBank Corp.’s support in establishing new offices in Singapore and Tokyo, we are supercharging the rollout of 1NCE’s lifetime, flat rate IoT in the region,” said Alexander P. Sator, CEO at 1NCE. “And with multiple mobile network operators now invested in 1NCE, we have validation that we’re on the right track to become the global leader in IoT connectivity and software.”