China’s mobile operators continued to dominate the rapidly expanding global IoT market, accounting for 46 per cent of cellular IoT connections in Q3 2017, Counterpoint Research reported.
The world’s leading operator in terms of IoT connections was China Mobile with a 32 per cent share in the quarter (see chart below, click to enlarge). The operator’s connections grew 106 per cent year-on-year as it is quickly transitioning to LTE IoT connections and is aggressively rolling out an NB-IoT network to take advantage of emerging IoT opportunities, Counterpoint Research said.
China Unicom expanded IoT connections 39 per cent from Q3 2016 and had a 9.4 per cent market share in Q3 2017; rival China Telecom recorded 17 per cent year-on-year growth to hold a 5 per cent share.
Overall, the three increased IoT connections by 75 per cent year-on-year.
The research company said worldwide cellular IoT connections increased 41 per cent year-on-year in Q3 2017 after crossing the half-billion mark earlier in the year. At end-Q3, LTE connections accounted for more than half of cellular IoT connections and registered 84 per cent year-on-year growth.
Research director Peter Richardson noted cellular IoT connectivity had been modest so far, but expects half a billion connections to be added by 2020.
Connections in Asia grew 64.2 per cent year-on-year in Q3, with the region having a 57.2 per cent share of global IoT connections. China accounts for 81 per cent of Asian connections.
IoT connections in Japan and South Korea grew 15 per cent and 25 per cent year-on-year respectively: Japan held a 5 per cent share of total Asia connections; South Korea 2 per cent.
In terms of low power wide area (LPWA) development, South Korea is ahead of Japan. SK Telecom, LG Uplus and KT commercialised their NB-IoT services in Q3 2017, Counterpoint Research said. KT also launched LTE-M in Q2 2017.
Outside China, Vodafone leads in cellular IoT connectivity globally posting 37 per cent year-on-year growth and holding the second position with a 10.9 per cent share. As of Q3 2017, Vodafone had launched NB-IoT in four countries including the Netherlands, Republic of Ireland, Czech Republic and Spain. The operator added commercial NB-IoT networks in Turkey and Australia in early Q4.