GSMA: IoT Revenue Opportunity for Mobile Carriers to Reach $1.8 Trillion

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Low power wide-area networks will be the first driver of what is likely to be an explosive IoT revenue opportunity, according to the GSMA mobile operator organization. GSMA cites an IoT revenue forecast from Machina Research, which projects a $1.8 trillion market by 2026.

Early on, the driver will be mobile operators offering low power wide area (LPWA) network-based IoT services in licensed spectrum.

IoT Revenue Forecast

“There is a real sense of momentum behind Mobile IoT networks in licensed spectrum, with multiple commercial launches around the world, as well as the availability of hundreds of different applications and solutions, but there is still much to be done,” said Alex Sinclair, the GSMA’s Chief Technology Officer in a press release. The projects are a product of Machina’s IoT Forecast Database Research.

To date, according to GSMA, 12 mobile operators have launched 15 commercial mobile IoT services. The carriers include AT&T, Telstra, Verizon, China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom and others.

The sector will grow aggressively. Mobile IoT networks are projected to have 862 million connections by 2022, which will be 56 percent of all LPWA connections. These networks will support industrial asset tracking, safety monitoring, water and gas metering, smart grids, city parking, vending machines, city lighting and other implementations characterized by low cost requirements, long battery life and low data rates.

The lion’s share of revenue – an estimated $534 billion – will come from the Americas. The research breaks down the top opportunities for IoT revenue. They include connected home ($441 billion), consumer electronics ($376 billion) and connected vehicles ($273 billion). Promising areas are connected energy ($128 billion) and connected cities ($78 billion).

Machina found that mobile operators are basing their IoT strategies on LTE-M and NB-IoT. The GSMA Mobile IoT initiative is backed by 74 mobile ecosystem companies worldwide.

Monetization of the IoT clearly is getting started in earnest. Two examples from July: Comcast said that it is extending its MachineQ IoT platform to 12 additional U.S. markets. The system uses LoRaWAN technology to support widely distributed endpoints. Meanwhile, T-Mobile finished NB-IoT testing on a live network in Las Vegas.

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