In North Africa, Algeria's national utility Sonelgaz has signed up Algerie Telecom's Mobilis division to provide mobile network services for smart metering deployments.
Four gas and electricity distribution subsidiaries of Sonelgaz will use Mobilis' services to remotely monitor meter data and track load curves, said trade press Telecompaper.
Smart meter pilot
Algeria began a smart meter trial in 2012 with more than 57,000 medium-voltage meters installed to date.
A further 50,000 units are due to be deployed installed this year.
Mobilis, the mobile arm of the national telecoms provider, is using GSM-Data/GPRS technology.
Algeria's metering sector
Advanced metering in Algeria is seen as a developing market but with restrictions.
Low levels of liberalisation in the power sector, difficulties with accessing financing, high corruption and an opaque tendering process for projects present sizeable challenges to developers, according to an assessment by Business Monitor International.
Itron deal in Algeria
Itron however has made inroads into the market with a deal in May 2012 with Algeria’s National Company of Measurement and Control Instruments (ENAMC) deploying its commercial and industrial advanced data collection system.
ENAMC, a subsidiary of Sonelgaz, planned to use the smart metering technology at 58 distribution centers across the country.
Under the agreement, ENAMC said it would locally produce tens of thousands of meters, while Itron supplied the associated modems.
Each center would also be equipped with Itron’s data collection system and the IT servers required to run the system.