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LTE still has legs with permanent roaming IoT connections to reach 825 million by 2026

Study from Kaleido Intelligence reveals significant demand for monitoring and telemetry-based internet of things applications to drive 27% CAGR in permanent roaming IoT connections

The second survey of its kind in a week has discovered that despite 5G being a key driver of connectivity being added to a plethora of devices, LTE-based technologies will dominate the internet of things (IoT) until well past 2026, with outbound IoT roaming revenue to exceed $21bn in four years’ time.

According to Kaleido Intelligence’s IoT roaming: Market strategies and forecasts 2022 report, there will be a 27% average annual growth in permanent roaming IoT connections between 2021 and 2026, as market demand for sensing, monitoring and telemetry applications grows following on from the pandemic.

Many of these connections are likely to be supported by low-power wide-area network technologies such as narrowband internet of things and long-term evolution for machines, following on from key headway made during 2021 to support roaming for LPWAN, with NB-IoT seeing critical growth in the number of international roaming agreements.

And concurring with a recent study from ABI Research, Kaleido noted that while 5G has been touted as the technology that will support large IoT deployments, Kaleido found that growth in 5G IoT connections has been relatively slow, with roaming 5G IoT even more so.

Indeed, Kaleido estimates that by 2026, only 43 million IoT connections will be roaming on 5G networks. It added that much of the current 5G IoT activity is focused on private network support, where few customers require either national or international roaming onto public networks. Meanwhile, services that are expected to drive 5G IoT roaming demand, such as network slicing, remain at a very nascent stage.

“5G IoT will surpass LTE-based technologies, although this will only occur after 2026,” said Steffen Sorrell, research lead at Kaleido Intelligence.

“Present hardware availability, pricing, services and network support remain very early in their development. Meanwhile, the vast majority of IoT applications can be addressed via current LTE technologies”.

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Looking at the financial outcomes for the project growth, Kaleido calculated that retail revenues from outbound IoT roaming connections will exceed $21bn in 2026, growing at 29% CAGR between 2021 and 2026. This growth, it said, highlights that the market offers a potentially lucrative channel for a large range of players, particularly in the MVNO and service provider segment.

It added that by marrying virtualised core network infrastructure with partnerships to gain access to roaming agreements and local IMSI ranges, there was a significant opportunity to compete for market share by combining a high level of flexibility with inherent strengths in customer service and the ability to cater to specific market segments.

Read more on Internet of Things (IoT)

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