The Future of Mobile

China will drive the growth of cellular IoT this year

Tyrone Stewart

Internet of ThingsThe number of cellular internet of things (IoT) subscribers increased by 56 per cent during 2017 to reach 647.5m globally, driven by China and its dedication to the adoption of cellular IoT.

The number of worldwide cellular IoT subscribers is expected to reach almost 1bn by the end of this year, according to IoT market research firm Berg Insight. And by 2022, it is estimated there will be 2.7bn IoT devices connected to cellular networks.

“China is playing a key role in accelerating and transforming the global cellular IoT market,” said Tobias Ryberg, senior analyst at Berg Insight. “The Chinese government has set a goal to connect 600m devices to NB-IoT networks by 2020. NB-IoT will essentially replace 2G technology, which accounted for the bulk of the 150m new cellular IoT connections added in the country in 2017. In the process, the cost of 4G-based cellular IoT chipsets and modules will fall dramatically, paving the way for a similar transition worldwide.”

Berg’s research also found that developments in cellular IoT will make 2G networks obsolete, while the next wave of cellular IoT adoption will start in China and be focused on new verticals like smart cites and infrastructure, smart industrial supply chains, and connected consumer products.