Home5GEricsson doubles five-year IoT forecast to 3.5bn LTE-M and NB-IoT connections

Ericsson doubles five-year IoT forecast to 3.5bn LTE-M and NB-IoT connections

Cellular ‘internet-of-thing’ (IoT) connections will reach 3.5 billion by 2023, from around 0.6 billion million today, with compound annual growth of 30 per cent per year, according to Ericsson, with most take-up in the industrial and automotive markets.

In total, Ericsson predicts 19.8 billion IoT devices will be in use by 2023, covering also wide-area IoT devices and short-range IoT devices, expected to reach 0.6 billion and 15.7 billion, respectively. The IoT market will account for around two thirds of total connected devices, or 31.4 billion devices, in 2023.

Ericsson also revealed, during a session at Internet of Things World Europe in London, the industrial sector will comprise the biggest share of the 3.5 billion cellular IoT connections by 2023, with 25 per cent of the total, followed by the automotive (23 per cent), utilities (12 per cent), finance (12 per cent), consumer healthcare (10 per cent), payments (four per cent), and security (three per cent) sectors.

The Swedish vendor has almost doubled its last prediction for cellular IoT connections, of 1.8 billion by 2023, from its previous Mobility Report in November 2017. Ericsson said in its new report the jump is mainly down to new momentum for narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) in China. North East Asia will account for two thirds of total cellular IoT deployments in the period, or 2.2 billion of the predicted 3.5 billion.

Operators have so far launched over 60 cellular Cat-M1 and NB-IoT networks on their LTE infrastructure, Ericsson calculates, noting the dominance of the former in North America, including for applications such as logistics and fleet management, and the deployment of NB-IoT variously, including in China, for smart cities and smart agriculture, among other use cases.

These twin low-power wide-area (LPWA), running on licensed spectrum, are also being deployed in parallel as complementary infrastructure. Large-scale deployments will bring chipset prices down, and the pace of growth will gather, said Ericsson.

Ericsson has said previously IoT connections will surpass mobile connections this year.

Meanwhile, the report suggests close to 50 per cent of all mobile subscriptions in North America will be for 5G by 2023, followed by North East Asia at 34 per cent, and Western Europe at 21 per cent.

Major US operators will lead roll-out of 5G, starting between late 2018 and mid-2019. Major 5G deployments will start in 2020.The first-generation 5G data-only devices are expected from the second half of 2018.

Ericsson predicts over one billion 5G subscriptions in the period, accounting for around 12 per cent of all mobile subscriptions. Mobile data traffic is estimated to surge by eight times during the forecast period to reach close to 107 exabytes per month. More than 20 per cent of mobile data traffic will be carried by 5G networks, equivalent to 1.5 times more than the total 4G/3G/2G traffic today.

Fredrik Jejdling, executive vice president and head of business area networks at Ericsson, said: “2018 is the year 5G networks go commercial as well as for large-scale deployments of cellular IoT. These technologies promise new capabilities that will impact people’s lives and transform industries. This change will only come about through the combined efforts of industry players and regulators aligning on spectrum, standards and technology.”

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