Operators will benefit from an estimated $1.8 trillion IoT revenue opportunity by 2026, boosted by the early deployment of commercial low power wide area (LPWA) networks in licensed spectrum, the GSMA announced.

Citing fresh figures published by Machina Research in its IoT Forecast Database Research, the association said commercial launches of mobile IoT services in licensed spectrum by a dozen operators globally highlights growing momentum around the technology.

Alex Sinclair, GSMA CTO, said: “Many operators are already reaping the benefits of deploying mobile IoT and we encourage others to act now to capitalise on this clear market opportunity and further accelerate the development of the Internet of Things.”

Machina Research’s figures show the Americas will be the top region in terms of revenue generation by 2026, accounting for $534 billion, or around a third, of the total.

In terms of individual applications, the study showed consumer demand for connected home ($441 billion), consumer electronics ($376 billion) and connected car technologies ($273 billion) represent the biggest revenue opportunities.

Other areas such as connected energy look set to hit $128 billion by 2026 thanks to local governments and consumers seeking smarter ways to manage utilities. Similarly, revenues from connected cities are expected to reach $78 billion.

The GSMA said operators are enhancing their licensed cellular networks with NB-IoT and LTE-M, which together with EC-GSM are 3GPP standardised cellular IoT technologies, to scale their networks.

Mobile IoT networks are expected to have 862 million active connections by 2022, or 56 per cent of all LPWA connections, and are designed to support mass-market IoT applications such as industrial asset tracking and city lighting, which require solutions that are low cost, use low data rates, require long battery life and can operate in remote locations.

The GSMA is backing operators’ commercial LPWA deployments in licensed spectrum through the GSMA Mobile IoT Initiative, which to-date garnered support from 74 global mobile operators, device makers and chipset, module and infrastructure companies.