Ericsson hikes cellular IoT connection expectations - Mobile World Live

Ericsson hikes cellular IoT connection expectations

12 JUN 2018

Ericsson doubled its five-year forecast for cellular IoT connections to 3.5 billion and tipped 2018 to prove historic for the industry due to the first commercial launches of 5G.

In the latest edition of its mobility report, Ericsson significantly increased its forecast for cellular IoT from the 1.7 billion connections it predicted in November 2017, citing large-scale deployments in China, and increasing interest in low power wide area (LPWA) networks using NB-IoT and LTE-M technologies as factors.

Ericsson said there were 700 million cellular IoT connections in 2017, so the 3.5 billion figure represents a compound annual growth rate of around 30 per cent.

With China leading the surge, Ericsson said North East Asia is anticipated to account for 2.2 billion of the 3.5 billion connections in 2023, while “new massive cellular IoT technologies, such as NB-IoT and Cat-M1 [LTE-M] are also taking off”.

5G use cases
The predicted increase in cellular IoT connections was the stand-out figure from the June 2018 mobility report, as Ericsson’s predictions for 5G uptake remained unchanged at 1 billion subscriptions by the end of the forecast period: it expects the technology to account for around 20 per cent of all mobile data traffic at that point.

Operators will launch with enhanced mobile broadband as its first use case, said Ericsson, with the US set to lead.

“Significant 5G subscription volumes” are also expected early in markets including South Korea, Japan and China, while global 5G network deployments are set to occur from 2020.

Pivotal year
With the first rollouts of 5G expected this year, Fredrik Jejdling, EVP and head of business area Networks at Ericsson said 2018 “will likely go into the history books as the start of an even bigger societal change” than 2009, when mobile data traffic surpassed mobile voice.

However, he warned the change will require a combined effort from the industry and regulators to align on spectrum, standards and technology.

“Securing the right spectrum for 5G in low, mid and high bands will be especially important in the near-term”, he said. “Global spectrum harmonisation will be key to securing broad adoption of economies of scale in of 5G.”

Q1 highlights
Ericsson said mobile data traffic grew 54 per cent between Q1 2017 and Q1 2018, driven by rising smartphone subscriptions and increasing data volume per subscription.

The total number of mobile subscriptions hit 7.9 billion in the first quarter of the year, with 98 million additions.

China and India led the way, with 53 million and 16 million additions respectively. The total number of mobile broadband subscriptions stood at 5.5 billion, with 2.9 billion LTE subscriptions.


Kavit Majithia

Kavit joined Mobile World Live in May 2015 as Content Editor. He started his journalism career at the Press Association before joining Euromoney’s graduate scheme in April 2010. Read More >>

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