I attended an event around Lora this week, and promised to update you on it. There was the original inventor of the underlying radio technology, people from the Lora Alliance [url]https://www.lora-alliance.org/[/url] and people from Mikrochip.
If you dont know what Lora is, read the above link. But its a very low power, low bandwidth technology for IoT. Submitting a sensor reading once an hour, and receiving a few bytes from the server hourly can be run on a few AA batteries for 5 years. (According to MikroChip).
I feel that the Lora technology is pretty close to being “production ready” but the complexity of the underlying systems is really high. There will be country-wise roll-outs of networks that you can rent access to, which then makes it feel like attaching to the GSM network. [url]The Things Network
You can also buy your own gateways, and achieve coverage up to 15km from the gateway. Gateways cost from EUR200 and up to EUR2000.
We got the Microchip Technology RN-2483-PICTAIL to play with and with quite a few commands in TeraTerm I managed to connect to the network and send some data. Its about the same complexity as the AT commands on an average GSM modem.
The good news is that with the Gadgeteer adapters from Mikrobus.Net [url]http://www.mikrobusnet.org/product-category/shopgadapters[/url] and the Lora Click http://www.mikroe.com/click/lora-rf/ you can be up and running pretty quickly.
I have more material on this if anyone is interested.
EDIT: It might be unclear, but you can also use two Lora devices to get a wireless connection over REALLY long distances. Justins RF pipe needs a revision!