HomeCarriers3GPP tech to account for 35% of LPWA networks according to report

3GPP tech to account for 35% of LPWA networks according to report

There are a number of unlicensed low-power wide-area network startups going toe-to-toe to be one to connect the biggest chunk of the massive and growing “internet of things” market. Players like Sigfox, Ingenu and Senet have been competing with each other over the past few years as the elephant in the back of the room continues to grow larger and find its way out of the shadow. That elephant – cellular – is getting closer to making its move, and according to reports, cellular technology will be extremely successful when it does so.

According to a report by ReportsnReports, Third Generation Partnership Project technologies will account for 35% of all LPWA network connections by 2020. Until recently, most machine-to-machine and IoT services have largely relied on licensed cellular, unlicensed networks, wireline and satellite networks for their wide-area connectivity requirements.

Already prevalent in IoT applications such as smart metering, lighting control and parking management, LPWA networks are expected to make a significant contribution to the M2M and IoT ecosystem, with an estimated $27 billion in service revenue by 2020, according to the report.

Key findings

At present, a majority of LPWA networks are based on proprietary technologies and operate in license-exempt spectrum primarily in sub-1 GHz bands. With the recent completion of the narrowband-IoT, LTE Cat-M1 and EC-GSM-IoT standards by the 3GPP, mobile operators are aggressively investing in software upgrades to build their own carrier-grade LPWA networks. By 2020, research estimates more than 35% of all LPWA profile IoT devices will be served by NB-IoT, LTE Cat-M1 and EC-GSM-IoT networks. As of Q4 2016, research estimates the cost of a typical LPWA module to be $4 to $18, depending on the specific technology. As LPWA network deployments mature, the report expects the cost per module to drop down to as low as $1 to $2 in volume quantities.

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