The number of cellular internet of things (IoT) subscribers jumped to over 1bn in 2018, driven mainly by huge growth in China, according to Berg Insight.
IoT connections increased by 70 per cent in 2018 to reach 1.2bn – a figure which is set to grow to 9bn by 2023. In 2018, 63 per cent of the global cellular IoT installed base was accounted for by China.
“China is deploying cellular IoT technology at a monumental scale,” said Tobias Ryberg, principal analyst and author of the report. “According to data from the Chinese mobile operators, the installed base in the country grew by 124 per cent year-on-year to reach 767m at the end of 2018. The country has now surpassed Europe and North America in terms of penetration rate with 54.7 IoT connections per 100 inhabitants.”
Berg Insight points to the Chinese government’s work to actively drive adoption as being the main reason behind the high adoption rates in the country which, like all major economies, has seen an acceptance of cellular IoT application through things like connected cars, fleet management, smart metering, and asset monitoring, alongside the emergence of other applications such as bike sharing.
Though cellular IoT adoption is high in China, it isn’t faring so well from a financial standpoint. The monthly average revenue per user (ARPU) for cellular IoT connectivity is just £0.19 in China, compared to £0.60 n Europe. Overall, global revenues from cellular IoT connectivity services increased 19 per cent in 2018 to reach £5.72bn, with the 10 largest players sharing around 80 per cent of that.