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ERIC's 3G for Australian Smart Meter Plan

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Ericsson’s (ERIC) 3G technology has been selected by Australia-based energy utility company Sp AusNet (SAUNF). The scope of the deal requires Ericsson to develop and implement a 3G network-enabled communications solution to support AusNet’s electricity smart meter program. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

A smart meter is usually an electrical meter that records consumption of electric energy at an interval of an hour or less, and thereafter communicates that information at least daily to the utility for monitoring and billing purposes. For many utility companies across the globe, the National Energy Regulator has made it mandatory to introduce smart meters.

The Victorian government has made it compulsory that smart meters have to be installed in all Victorian households and small businesses by the end of 2013. Thus, SP AusNet, with the help of Ericsson’s 3G solution, intends to extend and expand its smart meter footprint in the outer urban areas and rural areas of Victoria.

This mode of utilizing the 3G technology for smart meters for an electricity grid or providing a 3G-enabled smart meter module is the first of its kind deployment. Smart meters usually reduce costs for power infrastructure over time and are a step toward a future of greater energy efficiency and more renewable energy. Once the smart meters are combined with the 3G technology, it will not only help the expansion of the infrastructure, but will also help in further reduction of costs.

Ericsson is a world-leading provider of communications technology and services. Prior to this, Ericsson had provided Advanced Metering Management for Italy’s utility leader Acea's electricity network.

Ericsson’s Australian based team is responsible for the execution of this project from inception to completion. By deploying the 3G and LTE 3GPP standards-based technology, utility companies developing smart grids can take advantage of the benefits from the ecosystem and economies of scale enabled by the global telecom sector.  

Ericsson currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Investors interested in the utility industry and telecom industry may consider stocks like Shore Tel Inc. (SHOR), Ubiquiti Networks Inc. (UBNT) and Alliant Energy Corporation (LNT). Shore Tel and Ubiquiti carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), while Alliant Energy has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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