Global M2M Subs Up 23 Per Cent in 2015

A vending machine provides various beverages
The connected vending machine is just one example of a real-world M2M use-case

The number of global cellular M2M subscribers increased by 23 per cent during 2015 to reach 265.2m at the end of the year. East Asia was the largest regional market with 90.4m M2M subscribers, followed by Western Europe and N. America with 59m and 52.5m respectively.

The figures come from a new study from the analyst, Berg Insight, which forecasts that over the next five years, the installed base of cellular M2M devices will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.9 per cent.

“Our current view is that the 1bn milestone for cellular M2M subscribers will be reached in 2022”, says Tobias Ryberg, senior analyst at Berg Insight and author of the report.

As the cellular M2M market continues to grow, it is starting to generate substantial revenues for leading telecom operator groups. Verizon and Vodafone reported quarterly M2M/IoT revenues in the range of €150–200m each in the first half of 2015 and could be on track to reach €1bn on an annual basis within a few years’ time. Both groups have substantial telematics businesses, originally established through acquisitions. Besides traditional connectivity and professional services, they generate a considerable share of their sales from automotive products, driver assistance services and connected automotive applications.

One of the main trends highlighted by the report is the rapid transformation of the wireless M2M/IoT networking technology landscape. 2G networks are gradually being taken out of service, to be replaced by more efficient 4G technology. At the same time, new enhancements are being added to the LTE standard to better accommodate typical M2M use-cases with large numbers of devices and very low data requirements.

In addition, the leading players in the mobile industry have reached a significant agreement to define a new global standard for low power wireless communication based on mobile network infrastructure. The new NB-IoT standard was accepted by the 3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Project) earlier this month, and will be included in the 3GPP Release 13, due for publication in January 2016. Berg Insight believes that the initiative will become successful in establishing a global standard for lightweight IoT communication on public networks in the next 3–5 years.
There’s more information about the report here.