COVID-19 to halve global cellular IoT connections


The growth of cellular IoT connections will be halved in 2020 compared to 2019 due to COVID-19, according to a new study released by Berg Insight.

In 2019, cellular IoT subscribers increased by 40% to reach 1.56 billion owing to strong uptake across the main markets (China, North America and Western Europe) for IoT solutions.

The top ten mobile operators reported a combined active base of 1.33 billion cellular IoT connections at the end of 2019, accounting for 85% of total connections.

Below is a list of the top cellular IoT companies:

  • China Mobile with an estimated 683 million cellular IoT connections.
  • China Unicom and China Telecom ranked second and third with 190 million and 157 million connections respectively.
  • Vodafone ranked first among the Western operators and fourth overall with 97 million connections.
  • AT&T with 66 million in fifth place.
  • Verizon, Deutsche Telekom and Telefónica had in the range 24–46 million cellular IoT connections.
  • Orange and Telenor were the last players in the top ten with about 17 million and 16 million connections respectively.

The research firm predicts that there will be 4.15 billion IoT devices connected to cellular networks worldwide by 2024.

Fredrik Stalbrand, a senior analyst at Berg Insight, said: “Vodafone and AT&T are consolidating their positions as regional market leaders in Europe and North America respectively, serving multinational clients on a global basis.

“The two operators hold a strong position in the automotive OEM segment and are longstanding partners in the space, working together to provide a consistent service for joint customers. In terms of revenues, IoT connectivity services still account for around 1 percent of total revenues for most operator groups. Berg Insight’s analysis of the IoT business KPIs released by mobile operators in different parts of the world suggests that global IoT connectivity revenues increased by around 17% during 2019, while the monthly APRU dropped by 23%.

“Mobile operators looking to increase IoT revenues increasingly focus on adding cloud services and security capabilities on top of their connectivity offering to capture a larger share of the market.”

Read more about the study.