The number of cellular IoT subscribers increased 12 percent to 1.74 billion in 2020, according to Berg Insight.
The regional markets Western Europe and North America recorded the highest growth rates at over 15 percent.
There will be 3.74 billion IoT devices connected to cellular networks worldwide, Berg Insight said in its latest report on cellular IoT connections market.
The top ten mobile operators have 1.49 billion cellular IoT connections, accounting for 86 percent of total connections in 2020.
China Mobile is the world’s largest provider of cellular IoT connectivity services with an estimated 658 million cellular IoT connections.
China Unicom and China Telecom ranked second and third with 240 million and 238 million connections respectively.
“2020 marked the first year since the early 2010s that cellular IoT connections grew slower in China as compared to the global average, as the largest player China Mobile reported drop in its IoT subscriber base,” says Fredrik Stalbrand, Senior Analyst at Berg Insight.
China Mobile’s earlier decided to stop adding new IoT connections to its 2G network in the first half of 2020. China Mobile is in the process of migrating 2G users to NB-IoT and 4G LTE Cat-1 services.
Vodafone ranked first among the Western operators and fourth overall with 118 million cellular IoT connections. AT&T has 81 million cellular IoT connections.
Verizon, Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica have 26–48 million cellular IoT connections. Orange and Telenor were the last players in the top ten with about 18 million and 17 million cellular IoT connections respectively.
IoT connectivity services account for around 1 percent of total revenues for most operators.
Global IoT connectivity revenues increased 6 percent, while the monthly APRU dropped by 16 percent to €0.39.