NB-IoT set to dominate cellular IoT, report claims

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NB-IoT is set to be the dominant LPWAN cellular technology, with almost four times as many device shipments as LTE-M by 2023, a new report has claimed.

Berg Insight said global shipments of NB-IoT devices will have a compound annual growth rate of 41.8 percent from 106.9 million units in 2018 to 613.2 million in 2023.

By comparison, LTE-M device shipments will hit 185.3 million by 2023, with adoption accelerating this year and scaling to "massive volumes" following 2020.

[Read more: NB-IoT and LTE-M will be a key part of 5G networks, claims GSMA]

The report noted the progress being made across Europe to make NB-IoT coverage ubiquitous across networks. It singled out Vodafone as one of the leaders in developing the standard, doubling down on praise it made for the UK operator earlier this year.

It has recently launched networks in the Czech Republic and Germany, and plans to roll out commercial services to all of its markets by 2020. 

Deutsche Telekom, which beat Vodafone in launching the first NB-IoT services in 2016, was also praised. In March it extended the reach of its NB-IoT services across Greece, and also launched this year in its home market.

Other operators using the technology include Orange, TIM and Telia, although the French operator has restricted its deployment to Belgium.

However, the report noted that China will fuel growth in the coming year, with NB-IoT set to replace 2G in mass-market applications.

Tobias Ryberg, Senior Analyst, said: “China is driving a major paradigm shift in the global cellular IoT industry.

“The country has embarked on one of the world’s largest digital infrastructure projects that will result in billions of new connected devices in the coming five years. NB-IoT has been designated as the country’s preferred LPWA technology and plays a key role in the national policies.”