Global shipments of NB-IoT devices will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 41.8 percent from 106.9 million units in 2018 to reach 613.2 million units in 2023, according to a new research report from IoT analyst firm Berg Insight.
According to GSMA, NarrowBand-Internet of Things (NB-IoT) is a standards-based low power wide area (LPWA) technology developed to enable a wide range of new IoT devices and services. NB-IoT significantly improves the power consumption of user devices, system capacity and spectrum efficiency, especially in deep coverage. Battery life of more than 10 years can be supported for a wide range of use cases.
Strong growth is fuelled by fast-growing demand in China where NB-IoT is set to replace 2G in mass-market applications. The transition from 2G to 4G is a global trend, accelerated by NB-IoT.
In Europe, the leading mobile operators are making good progress towards ubiquitous coverage for NB-IoT. Vodafone has been among the leaders in the development of the standard and will roll out commercial services across all its networks until 2020.
At the end of 2017, the operator had live NB-IoT services in Italy, Spain, Ireland and the Netherlands. During 2018, availability will be extended to Germany, the UK and Czechia.
Deutsche Telekom launched in Germany and the Netherlands in Q2-2017 and plans to extend coverage to an additional six European countries.
Other European operators with live NB-IoT services in early 2018 included Orange, TIM and Telia Company. Telefónica will start deployments in Europe later this year. Adoption in North America is also starting to take off.
T-Mobile USA switched on NB-IoT services in Las Vegas in February this year and Verizon has confirmed plans to build a nationwide network covering 2.56 million square miles by the year-end. Australia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey and the UAE are other examples of countries where rollouts are already underway.
LTE-M is another technology that will play a key role in the market transformation. Berg Insight predicts that adoption will accelerate during 2018/2019 and scale to massive volumes beyond 2020. Berg Insight forecasts that yearly shipments of LTE-M devices will reach 185.3 million units in 2023.