Cellular IoT Device Growth Expected to Skyrocket, Revenue Per Device to Decline

According to a recent forecast by Juniper Research, the global cellular Internet of Things (IoT) device count is set to surge from 3.4 billion in 2024 to an astounding 6.5 billion by 2028, marking a remarkable 93 percent increase. However, this growth comes with a caveat, as the average operator revenue per cellular IoT device per month is anticipated to decline over the same period.
Juniper Research report on IoT devicesFactors contributing to this projected decrease include the stabilization of 5G IoT pricing, the rise of low-revenue LPWA (Low-power Wide-area) connections, and network efficiency enhancements. With connectivity accounting for only 10 percent of total revenue generated from IoT, according to estimates by the GSMA, operators are compelled to explore alternative revenue streams.

In response to this shifting landscape, operators are diversifying their offerings, with many developing proprietary IoT management platforms and value-added services. Likewise, IoT vendors are expanding their portfolios to encompass these platforms and services, aiming to offset declining revenue from IoT hardware shipments.

The research underscores the critical importance of intelligent infrastructure management solutions to handle the burgeoning cellular IoT data. With global cellular IoT data expected to soar to 46 petabytes in 2028, up from 21 petabytes presently, investment in IoT automation services such as federated learning is projected to increase.

Federated learning, a subset of machine learning that employs a decentralized data approach, is touted as a solution to mitigate the risk of data fraud over IoT networks. By limiting the exposure of sensitive IoT data, federated learning helps reduce the likelihood of data breaches, thereby bolstering confidence in cellular IoT connectivity, particularly among industries handling sensitive data.

Recommendations for Operators and IoT Vendors

Juniper Research proposes several recommendations to navigate the evolving IoT landscape:

RedCap Deployment Analytics: Operators and IoT vendors are advised to develop RedCap deployment analytics to provide enterprises with insights on optimizing their IoT operations.

eSIM Integration: Embedding the eSIM (embedded SIM) within IoT management platforms can streamline device and data management, reducing the complexity associated with eSIM management.

Autonomous Profile Management: Operators and IoT vendors should focus on creating autonomous profile management tools to facilitate profile switching based on predetermined parameters, essential for managing the vast number of IoT devices effectively.

Diversity Considerations in Client Selection: Encouraging diversity in client selection can improve the quality of aggregate models and reduce communication expenditure in federated learning scenarios.

Enhancing Federated Learning Servers: Developing the capabilities of federated learning servers is crucial for coordinating the learning process, aggregating models, and ensuring high data transmission rates and processing speed.

In conclusion, as the cellular IoT ecosystem continues to expand, it is imperative for operators and IoT vendors to adapt to evolving demands and technologies, ensuring the security, efficiency, and profitability of IoT deployments.