The vast majority of service providers are focusing on cellular IoT technologies, but remain without a solid strategy to achieve revenue growth in the nascent segment, research by Ericsson found.
A survey of 20 leading operators showed they are pursuing multiple paths to IoT revenue growth. While Ericsson was able to identify four distinct tracks operators are taking (network provider, connectivity provider, service enabler and service creator) it discovered 70 per cent of operators lack a well defined strategy for taking on the growing market.
One thing most providers had in common was that 80 per cent were looking to move beyond connectivity to create value through differentiated services, or by becoming IoT service enablers or creators.
Jeff Travers, Ericsson’s head of IoT, said the research “confirms the importance of IoT to the current and future business of leading service providers”. He noted operators are “investing in new technologies and establishing new business models for revenue sharing and increased use of indirect channels.”
The report comes as operators around the globe move ahead with the launch of IoT networks and reveal a variety of visions for revenue generation.
In the US, AT&T is hard at work pushing adoption of connected car and smart city services on its LTE-M network, while T-Mobile US focused more on lower throughput asset tracking and monitoring options for its NB-IoT network. In Europe, Stockholm-based Telenor Connexion is keeping an eye on digital health, though CEO Mats Lundquist recently told Mobile World Live automotive applications will fuel the majority of growth in the near-term.
At Mobile World Congress 2018, Ericsson’s 5G marketing director Monika Bylehn urged operators to size up IoT opportunities now and make a decision on what business they want to target.
“It’s still a small part of the business, but you need to start to build and see what role you take in the value chain – is it as a network developer…in service enablement or service creation?”