China’s mobile operators continued to dominate the rapidly expanding global IoT market, accounting for 46 percent 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 percent share in the quarter (see chart below, click to enlarge). The operator’s connections grew 106 percent 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 percent from Q3 2016 and had a 9.4 percent market share in Q3 2017; rival China Telecom recorded 17 percent year-on-year growth to hold a 5 percent share.
Overall, the three increased IoT connections by 75 percent year-on-year.
The research company said worldwide cellular IoT connections increased 41 percent 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 percent year-on-year in Q3, with the region having a 57.2 percent share of global IoT connections. China accounts for 81 percent of Asian connections.
IoT connections in Japan and South Korea grew 15 percent and 25 percent year-on-year respectively: Japan held a 5 percent share of total Asia connections; South Korea 2 percent.
In terms of low power wide area (LPWA) development, South Korea is ahead of Japan. SK Telecom, LG Uplus, and KT commercialized 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 percent year-on-year growth and holding the second position with a 10.9 percent 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.