Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

3G and 4G to be dominant cellular M2M technologies by 2018: Berg

Iain Morris
August 28, 2014
The share of cellular M2M devices connected to 3G and 4G networks is projected to more than double from less than 20% at the end of 2014 to more than 50% by 2018, according to new research from Berg Insight.

When it comes to device shipments, 3G and 4G technologies will overtake 2G in 2017, adds Berg, with HSPA representing the “largest technology” during an intermittent period until the current price gap with 4G has been closed.

The market-research company says initial adoption of 3G for M2M applications has mainly been driven by the phasing out of 2G services in some countries.

In the US, for instance, AT&T (Dallas, TX, USA) has announced plans to shut down its 2G network, which is having a profound impact on the M2M hardware market.

As a result, Berg now expects a majority of the M2M devices shipped in North America to be using 3G technology this year.

The rate of adoption has been slower in Europe because the “time horizons” for continued operation of 2G networks generally extend well beyond 2020 in most countries.

Meanwhile, in the Asia-Pacific, 3G is already established as the standard technology platform in advanced markets such as Japan.

The main catalyst for the anticipated acceleration of 3G and 4G adoption over the next few years will be the growing data requirements of many M2M applications, according to Berg.

“Firstly, there is a general trend towards higher data consumption for most traditional M2M applications,” said Tobias Ryberg, a senior analyst with Berg. “Secondly, the automotive industry is getting very serious about realizing the vision of connected cars, which require mobile broadband connectivity.”

“Early adopters such as GM [Detroit, MI, USA] and Audi [Ingolstadt, Germany] recently introduced their first car models with embedded LTE in the US,” added Ryberg.
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