Operators set for $33 billion windfall from NB-IoT and LTE-M by 2022

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Operator revenues from wide area IoT applications will grow 150 percent over the next five years, while overall smart city revenues will grow the same amount in nine years, according to analysts.

A report by Dell’Oro Group said IoT applications using wide area network technologies such as NB-IoT and LTE-M will produce nearly $33 billion in sales for service providers by 2022, a 2.5-fold increase over 2017 levels.

The firm predicted cellular technologies would account for 98 percent of service provider revenues in this sector. However, pouring water on anticipation around 5G, the firm said massive machine-type communications using the standard would be “negligible” in the same period.

“Service providers have invested in cellular technologies for the past 30-plus years,” said Stefan Pongratz, Senior Director at Dell’Oro Group.

He said operators are in a “unique position” to capture new revenues from IoT use cases with minimal additional investments required.

“The business case using cellular technologies, such as NB-IoT and LTE-M, is extremely compelling,” he added.

Meanwhile, a recent report from ABI Research predicted that revenues across 12 major smart city verticals will grow from $25 billion in 2017 to $62 billion in 2026.

The report examined 12 smart city verticals, including commercial building automation, digital signage, intelligent transportation, kiosks, electric vehicle charging stations and microgrids, smart bins and environment sensors, smart grid, smart meters, smart parking, smart street lighting, video surveillance and water and gas meters.

The firm said smart meters and video surveillance would provide the biggest absolute revenue opportunities.

Dominique Bonte, Vice President at ABI Research, said: “Interest in and focus on smart cities has skyrocketed in 2017, with a very large number of vendors from across the value chain repositioning and optimising their IoT portfolios to take advantage of this beckoning opportunity.

“By its very nature of aggregating a wide range of solutions and technologies, the smart cities segment offers the perfect environment for suppliers to offer horizontal IoT platform solutions and addresses a recent trend toward more holistic, cross-vertical approaches.”

Major operator-led smart city projects include Telecom Italia in La Coruña, Elisa in Tampere and BT in Milton Keynes.

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