Cellular IoT market Forecast

IoT (Internet of things) devices with cellular connectivity make up a substantial portion of the overall IoT wireless connectivity market, particularly in the Massive IoT space where wide-area connectivity and mobility are requied. Here are top future trends for the cellular IoT market:

-As per Ericsson IoT forecast, the number of mobile phones is expected to be surpassed by connected things in year 2018. The number of IoT devices with cellular connections is projected to reach 1.5 billion in 2022, or about 70% of wide-area IoT connections. Between 2016 and 2022, IoT devices are expected to increase at a CAGR of 21 percent, driven by new use cases.

The wide-area category consists of devices using cellular connections (3GPP-based 2G,3G,4G,5G etc.. with some CDMA), as well as unlicensed low-power technologies, such as Sigfox, LoRa and Ingenu.


Figure 1. Ericsson IoT Forcast

– The top players reported a combined active base of 407 million cellular IoT connections at the end of First half of 2017. As per Analyst firm Berg Insight ,top 10 global mobile operators account of 76% of the cellular IoT market. They are:

  • China Mobile – 150m connections
  • Vodafone – 59m
  • China Unicom – 50m
  • AT&T – 36m
  • China Telecom – 28m
  • Deutsche Telecom – 15-20m
  • Softbank/Sprint – 15-20m
  • Verizon – 15-20m
  • Telefonica – 15-20m
  • Telenor – 12m

“The Chinese mobile operators achieved tremendous volume growth in 2017, driven by accelerating uptake of cellular IoT in the domestic market,” said Tobias Ryberg, senior analyst at Berg Insight and the author of the report. “China Mobile is believed to have reached 200 million cellular IoT connections at the end of 2017.” However, Berg also found that although China is ahead in connections, Western operators generate more IoT revenues. Berg predicts that at least three operator groups will make more than $1 billion in IoT revenues this year: AT&T, Verizon and Vodafone.

– As per J. Sharpe Smith is the Senior Editor of eDigest, The five-year forecast predicts NB-IoT will take over 57 percent of cellular IoT shipments by 2022, followed by LTE-M (CAT-M) with 25 percent of the market.


Grand View Research estimated the value of cellular IoT market at nearly $1.8 billion in 2016 and projected that it will reach $9.65 billion by 2025. The firm cited cellular networks’ resilience, ubiquitous mobility, and security as primary drivers for cellular IoT market growth.


Source: Grand View Research

“Cellular connectivity in IoT applications ensures massive deployments in sectors such as fleet tracking and management capillary networks and smart buildings, owing to which the application is expected to witness highest growth in the Asia Pacific region,” Grand View said. “The ever-increasing population, high demand for consumer goods, and recent proliferation of the disruptive technology in industrial applications are the major factors driving market growth over the forecast period.”

-In Cisco’s 2017 Visual Networking Index for global mobile traffic, the company noted that bandwidth-intensive IoT applications such as video monitoring are on the rise, with IoT capabilities “similar to end-user mobile devices are experiencing an evolution from 2G to 3G and 4G and higher technologies.” Cisco, which still classifies IoT devices as M2M (machine-to-machine traffic), said that on a global basis, connections will grow from 780 million in 2016 to 3.3 billion by 2021, a 34% CAGR and fourfold growth over the forecast period.


Figure : Global Machine-to-Machine Growth and Migration from 2G to 3G and 4G+

This article is first time published on IoT Vigyan Technology Blog.

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