The report by ABI Research also named SigFox as the IoT LPWA networks market leader.
A new report by ABI Research has bad news for mobile network operators. Unlicensed IoT networks have provided stiff competition for NB-IoT and LTE-M. Private LPWA networks supported 93% of IoT-based connections. IoT device users built these networks without involvement from mobile networks.
The report named SigFox as the LPWA market leader responsible for Europe’s largest share of public Low Powered Wide Area network connections.
Private networks use SigFox or its LoRaWan competitor or an unlicensed spectrum with low risk of interference and high quality of service. This option gives IoT device owners and users little incentive to use NB-IoT or LTE-M networks even though they offer affordable pricing and subscription plans.
This news doesn’t thrill mobile network operations who’ve counted on the NB-IoT and LTE-M networks to support their IoT operations.
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LoRa’s popularity has exploded in China to average 54% YOY growth, thanks to its exploding popularity in China. Over 40 Chinese cities have deployed the network technology to power smart meters, air quality sensors, parking sensors and other smart city devices and services.
The company predicted smart meters will see 53% annual compound growth between this year and 2023. The future growth of mobile networks for IoT is not as clear, as NB-IoT and LTE-M continue to promise more than they deliver. Will the promise of native 5G support brighten that outlook? That remains to be seen as mobile network operations continue to build out their networks and promote the technology.