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2.2 Billion IoT Connections Expected to be on eSIM by 2030

  • IoT eSIM connections are expected to grow 43% annually between 2023 and 2030.
  • New GSMA standards for IoT eSIM are expected to accelerate the adoption of eSIM in IoT as constrained devices benefit from new standards.
  • China lags in eSIM adoption despite being the largest IoT market in terms of connections.

Seoul, Beijing, Boston, Buenos Aires, Fort Collins, Hong Kong, London, New Delhi – Feb 20, 2024

IoT connections on eSIM are expected to grow at a rapid pace of 43% annually to reach 2.2 billion by 2030, according to a recent report released by Counterpoint Research on the IoT connectivity landscape. By 2030, almost a third of the IoT connections will be on eSIM or iSIM.

Commenting on the current state of IoT eSIM connections, Associate Director Mohit Agrawal said, “eSIM growth in IoT has lagged behind that in consumer space due to the restrictive M2M eSIM specifications. As a result, at the end of 2023, there were a little less than 200 million eSIM connections in the IoT space despite the excellent product-market fit.”

Agrawal added, “China, the world’s largest IoT market, has low single-digit eSIM penetration due to restrictive regulations around eSIM in the past and the high proportion of LPWA devices which currently do not support eSIM. The eSIM penetration in the rest of the world is much higher than in China but the large IoT base in China brings the overall global eSIM penetration to less than 10%.”

Commenting on the eSIM forecast, Senior Research Analyst Ankit Malhotra said, “The new GSMA standards for IoT eSIM (SGD.31/32) are expected to bring the eSIM to constrained devices, which is likely to massively push the growth in eSIM and later iSIM. eSIM vendors and IoT connectivity providers have multiple proof of concepts on the new IoT eSIM standards and the big push is likely to happen next year after the test specifications are released by GSMA later this year. The early adopters of eSIM in IoT have been mostly automotive customers as the enterprises have not really been able to change the connectivity provider at will”

The comprehensive and in-depth IoT Connectivity Landscapereport and the ‘Connectivity Management Platform Rankings’ report are now available. Please contact Counterpoint Research to gain access to the reports. 

Background

Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects, and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.

 

5G Advanced and Wireless AI Set To Transform Cellular Networks, Unlocking True Potential

The recent surge in interest in generative AI highlights the critical role that AI will play in future wireless systems. With the transition to 5G, wireless systems have become increasingly complex and more challenging to manage, forcing the wireless industry to think beyond traditional rules-based design methods.

5G Advanced will expand the role of wireless AI across 5G networks introducing new, innovative AI applications that will enhance the design and operation of networks and devices over the next three to five years. Indeed, wireless AI is set to become a key pillar of 5G Advanced and will play a critical role in the end-to-end (E2E) design and optimization of wireless systems. In the case of 6G, wireless AI will become native and all-pervasive, operating autonomously between devices and networks and across all protocols and network layers.

E2E Systems Optimization

AI has already been used in smartphones and other devices for several years and is now increasingly being used in the network. However, AI is currently implemented independently, i.e. either on the device or in the network. As a result, E2E systems performance optimization across devices and network has not been fully realized yet. One of the reasons for this is that on-device AI training has not been possible until recently.

On-device AI will play a key role in improving the E2E optimization of 5G networks, bringing important benefits for operators and users, as well as overcoming key challenges. Firstly, on-device AI enables processing to be distributed over millions of devices thus harnessing the aggregated computational power of all these devices. Secondly, it enables AI model learning to be customized to a particular user’s personalized data. Finally, this personalized data stays local on the device and is not shared with the cloud. This improves reliability and alleviates data sovereignty concerns. On-device AI will not be limited to just smartphones but will be implemented across all kinds of devices from consumer devices to sensors and a plethora of industrial equipment.

New AI-native processors are being developed to implement on-device AI and other AI-based applications. A good example is Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon X75 5G modem-RF chip, which has a dedicated hardware tensor accelerator. Using Qualcomm’s own AI implementation, this Gen 2 AI processor boosts the X75’s AI performance more than 2.5 times compared to the previous Gen 1 design.

While on-device AI will play a key role in improving the E2E performance of 5G networks, overall systems optimization is limited when AI is implemented independently. To enable true E2E performance optimization, AI training and inference needs to be done on a systems-wide basis, i.e.  collaboratively across both the network and the devices. Making this a reality in wireless system design requires not only AI know-how but also deep wireless domain knowledge. This so-called cross-node AI is a key focus of 5G Advanced with a number of use cases being defined in 3GPP’s Release 18 specification and further use cases expected to be added in later releases.

Wireless AI: 5G Advanced Release 18 Use Cases

3GPP’s Release 18 is the starting point for more extensive use of wireless AI expected in 6G. Three use cases have been prioritized for study in this release:

  • Use of cross-node Machine Learning (ML) to dynamically adapt the Channel State Information (CSI) feedback mechanism between a base station and a device, thus enabling coordinated performance optimization between networks and devices.
  • Use of ML to enable intelligent beam management at both the base station and device, thus improving usable network capacity and device battery life.
  • Use of ML to enhance positioning accuracy of devices in both indoor and outdoor environments, including both direct and ML-assisted positioning.

Channel State Feedback:

CSI is used to determine the propagation characteristics of the communication link between a base station and a user device and describes how this propagation is affected by the local radio environment. Accurate CSI data is essential to provide reliable communications. With traditional model-based CSI, the user device compresses the downlink CSI data and feeds the compressed data back to the base station. Despite this compression, the signalling overhead can still be significant, particularly in the case of massive MIMO radios, reducing the device’s uplink capacity and adversely affecting its battery life.

An alternative approach is to use AI to track the various parameters of the communications link. In contrast to model-based CSI, a data driven air interface can dynamically learn from its environment to improve performance and efficiency. AI-based channel estimation thus overcomes many of the limitations of model-based CSI feedback techniques resulting in higher accuracy and hence an improved link performance. The is particularly effective at the edges of a cell.

Implementing ML-based CSI feedback, however, can be challenging in a system with multiple vendors. To overcome this, Qualcomm has developed a sequential training technique which avoids the need to share data across vendors. With this approach, the user device is firstly trained using its own data. Then, the same data is used to train the network. This eliminates the need to share proprietary, neural network models across vendors. Qualcomm has successfully demonstrated sequential training on massive MIMO radios at its 3.5GHz test network in San Diego (Exhibit 1).

Wireless AI
© Qualcomm Inc.

Exhibit 1: Realizing system capacity gain even in challenging non-LOS communication

AI-based Millimetre Wave Beam Management:

The second use case involves the use of ML to improve beam prediction on millimetre wave radios. Rather than continuously measuring all beams, ML is used to intelligently select the most appropriate beams to be measured – as and when needed. A ML algorithm is then used to predict future beams by interpolating between the beams selected – i.e. without the need to measure the beams all the time. This is done at both the device and the base station. As with CSI feedback, this improves network throughput and reduces power consumption.

Qualcomm recently demonstrated the use of ML-based algorithms on its 28GHz massive MIMO test network and showed that the performance of the AI-based system was equivalent to a base case network set-up where all beams are measured.

Precise Positioning:

The third use case involves the use of ML to enable precise positioning. Qualcomm has demonstrated the use of multi-cell roundtrip (RTT) and angle-of-arrival (AoA)-based positioning in an outdoor network in San Diego. The vendor also demonstrated how ML-based positioning with RF finger printing can be used to overcome challenging non-line of sight channel conditions in indoor industrial private networks.

An AI-Native 6G Air Interface

6G will need to deliver a significant leap in performance and spectrum efficiency compared to 5G if it is to deliver even faster data rates and more capacity while enabling new 6G use cases. To do this, the 6G air interface will need to accommodate higher-order Giga MIMO radios capable of operating in the upper mid-band spectrum (7-16GHz), support wider bandwidths in new sub-THz 6G bands (100GHz+) as well as on existing 5G bands. In addition, 6G will need to accommodate a far broader range of devices and services plus support continuous innovation in air interface design.

To meet these requirements, the 6G air interface must be designed to be AI native from the outset, i.e. 6G will largely move away from the traditional, model-driven approach of designing communications networks and transition toward a data-driven design, in which ML is integrated across all protocols and layers with distributed learning and inference implemented across devices and networks.

This will be a truly disruptive change to the way communication systems have been designed in the past but will offer many benefits. For example, through self-learning, an AI-native air interface design will be able to support continuous performance improvements, where both sides of the air interface — the network and device — can dynamically adapt to their surroundings and optimize operations based on local conditions.

5G Advanced wireless AI/ML will be the foundation for much more AI innovation in 6G and will result in many new network capabilities. For instance, the ability of the 6G AI native air interface to refine existing communication protocols and learn new protocols coupled with the ability to offer E2E network optimization will result in wireless networks that can be dynamically customized to suit specific deployment scenarios, radio environments and use cases. This will a boon for operators, enabling them to automatically adapt their networks to target a range of applications, including various niche and vertical-specific markets.

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Live Updates from MWC Shanghai 2023

Our analysts Ethan Qi, Jene Park, Soumen MandalIvan LamShenghao BaiArchie ZhangShaochen Wang and Alicia Gong are currently attending the MWC Shanghai 2023 event (June 28-June 30). In the following posts, you will experience the full force of our presence at MWC Shanghai as we provide unique insights from our analysts, unveiling the industry-shaping impact of this remarkable gathering.

Day 1 Highlights:

Consumer Electronics:

Meizu showcases capabilities in ‘device-vehicle integration’

Meizu showcases capabilities in ‘device-vehicle integration’

During MWC Shanghai 2023, Meizu showcased a series of products and technologies, including the Flyme Auto intelligent system-enabled EV models, Meizu 20 flagship smartphone series, Titan glass and the EcarX Antares 1000 Pro computing platform. The Meizu 20 series, released in March 2023, sports the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC, 6.5-inch OLED display, 144Hz refresh rate and UFS4.0 and LPDDR5X memory combination. The Meizu 20 INFINITY Ultimate Edition features a dual-sided suspended Titan glass design, highlighting the emerging trend of flagship models in China competing to adopt more durable glass materials. Meizu also expects its Flyme Auto system to emerge as a guiding beacon for the deep integration of the smartphone and automotive ecosystems.

Huawei showcases Vision Glass

Huawei showcased its recently launched smart eyewear product Huawei Vision Glass alongside a range of smartphone models and consumer IoT products. Huawei Vision Glass, unveiled in December 2022, features a Micro OLED display that offers an immersive experience equivalent to a 120-inch virtual giant screen. It boasts 1080p full HD resolution and 480nit brightness and supports a wide color gamut of 90% DCI-P3. In addition, it comes equipped with ultra-thin smart speakers and offers adjustable diopters ranging from 0 to 500 degrees.

 

ZTE presents nubia Pad 3D, world’s first AI-based naked-eye 3D tablet computer

ZTE presents nubia Pad 3D

ZTE highlighted the nubia Pad 3D, which showcases the unique “3D light field” technology for superior naked-eye 3D display quality. It also incorporates AI eye-tracking to provide real-time matching of the most comfortable viewing field. Leveraging the AI neural network deep-learning algorithms, it enables instant conversion of 2D content into 3D. During MWC, ZTE announced collaborations with ecosystem partners such as China Mobile Migu, Jiangxi Kejun, China National Publications Import & Export (Group) Corporation and Datang Xishi to provide a wealth of naked-eye 3D scene applications in areas including film and television, live streaming, gaming, education, healthcare, cultural tourism, online conferences, exhibition display, advertising, and more.

Telecom Operators’ Moves

Establishment of China Mobile Metaverse Industry Alliance

Establishment of China Mobile Metaverse Industry Alliance

China Mobile has collaborated with metaverse ecosystem partners to establish the China Mobile Metaverse Industry Alliance. It unveiled the first group of 24 alliance members at the MWC. The alliance comprises content provider Mango TV, providers of content and software development tools such as Unity, AI technologies leader Iflytek, as well as hardware companies like Huawei, NOLO, HTC VIVE and Xiaomi. They will prioritize cooperation in four key areas – metaverse content creation, XR terminals, key technologies and computational networks.

China Mobile’s 5G Use Case

China Mobile showcased a remarkable 5G use case for automated quality inspection, eliminating the need for wired connections.

China Unicom’s 5G solutions

China Unicom unveiled a groundbreaking 5G-connected solution for traffic lights and cameras.

China Telecom reveals development strategy for 6G

China Telecom reveals development strategy for 6G

During his keynote speech at MWC, China Telecom chairman revealed that the company was actively pursuing innovative advancements in the architecture of the simplified 6G network. The research primarily focuses on key core technologies, including near-field cellular integration (P-RAN) and air-space integration. China Telecom will maintain a close collaboration with standardization organizations and industry partners to drive the establishment of globally unified 6G international standards.

Innovations from network, software and component providers

Huawei drives 5G ToB advancement with ‘5G Inside’ technology

Huawei not only perseveres in the development of 5G devices but also drives the advancement of 5G ToB. With 5G Inside, Huawei is collaborating with enterprise customers to deliver customized 5G devices that cater to diverse scenarios and applications.

Huawei’s ‘cloud phone’ solution

Huawei offers a cloud phone solution where users can access separate or multiple virtual phones through a dedicated app. This innovative B2B solution is ideal for companies seeking to secure their digital assets and provide virtual phone solutions for their sales staff. Government entities also show interest in this virtual phone solution, while cloud mobile gaming presents another exciting use case.

Huawei’s 5GC Intelligent Traffic Express Solution

Huawei’s 5Gc Intelligent Traffic Express Solution enables the detection and monitoring of user live-streaming activities. In cases where user experience worsens, extra resources are allocated to VVIP users, providing operators with the opportunity to monetize on individuals requiring fast and prioritized connections, such as live-streaming bloggers.

H3C’s Wi-Fi7 Announcements

H3C showcased a compelling use case of Wi-Fi7 enabling remote schooling. The enterprise gateway has the capability to support hundreds of terminals, including tablets and PCs, simultaneously.

China Broadnet’s Naked-eye Display

China Broadnet presents a rejuvenated concept of naked-eye displays.

STMicroelectronics Announcements

STMicroelectronics’ integrated wearable sensing unit, with accelerometers and gyroscopes integrated, can efficiently process signals and directly translate movements into actionable data for smart wearable devices.

AMD’s RFFE Solutions

AMD has introduced an advanced RF front-end solution designed specifically for small cell systems.

AAC Expands its Optical R&D Strength

AAC is significantly enhancing its optical R&D capabilities, particularly in the field of waveguide technologies.

Tongxin Microelectronics Announcements

Tongxin Micro’s NFC chips find wide applications in wearables and smartphones, having already been integrated into various commercial models. Besides, the company serves as a provider of eSIM chips. A solution combining both technologies is currently in the works.

ams OSRAM Mira050 with Wafer Level Optics (WLO) Demo Kit

 

Smallest lens solution with leading-edge NIR-imaging performance – images are sharp from center to edge of image circle. ams OSRAM designed and produced WLO lens mounted on Mira050 EVK sensor board, actively aligned to optimize image quality. Configurable NIR-designs for wavelengths bands around 850nm or 940nm

Kigen and TMC collaborate to drive eSIM innovation

Kigen and Tongxin Microelectronics Co (TMC) have delivered the first-ever simple, global, secure, commercial and GSMA-certified consumer eSIM solution to empower OEM innovation to meet 5G FWA demand for affordable CPE devices. Lead customers are already developing commercial products based on this offering. The companies are now extending it to general availability.

“Global 5G FWA CPE cumulative revenues are expected to reach over $100 billion during 2020-2030. Bringing down the total cost of 5G FWA CPE is integral to 5G broadband adoption, scale and return on investment for all stakeholders in this price-sensitive segment.” Neil Shah, VP of Research, Counterpoint Research

Read the full release here: https://kigen.com/resources/press-releases/kigen-consumer-esim-os-for-cpe-oem/

Day 2 Highlights:

HONOR Magic V2 foldable smartphone launch event

HONOR Magic V2 foldable smartphone launch event

During the launch event, HONOR CEO George Zhao shared thoughts on innovation in future smartphone products:

  • Inclusion of AI: George thinks that having AI on the device is vital because it would allow users to have multiple-modal interactions and offers better privacy protection in the future digitalized life.
  • Screen size matters but so does the smartphone weight: Future smartphones should be easier to carry around as they need to be.
  • Display technology with eye-care features would become popular: In China, more than 30% of smartphone users use their devices for more than five years. Eye-care display technology addresses the consumer’s concerns.
  • Longer battery life: Customers want devices with longer battery life since they are using them more and more every day.

At the end of his address, Zhao announced that HONOR’s third foldable phone Magic V2 would be launched on July 12 and the product may bring improvements in the abovementioned areas.

Meizu’s announcements

Meizu’s CEO Shen Ziyu keynote speech - MWC Shanghai

Meizu’s CEO Shen Ziyu made a keynote speech today, describing his vision of interconnection between the automotive and smartphone segments. Meizu is now owned by Chinese auto giant Geely. Ziyu said the synergy between the two segments would be brought by the sharing of computing power, data and hardware. Automobile operating systems should also become accessible to the huge application ecosystem of smartphones. The company is also working on an infotainment system called Flyme Auto, which will offer the same smooth user experience as seen in the Flyme OS for smartphones. Flyme Auto will be installed on the upcoming Lynkco 08 and Volvo Polestar for the global market.

Day 3 Highlights

Lenovo updates

  • Lenovo showcased its consumer electronics products such as laptops, tablets and smartphones, including its recently launched foldable Motorola Razr 40 Ultra.
  • Lenovo also had some ToB solutions at its booths, such as AI server, edge computing products, park patrol robot, smart transportation systems and logistics.
  • Lenovo also supports many of the firms in its ecosystem which have stepped into XR optical solutions, live-streaming supporting platforms, network equipment and smart logistic management system.
  • For its smart city business, Lenovo showcased its solutions like smart transportation solutions and city emergency management platform.

China Broadnet showcases new 5G calling features

China Broadnet showcases new 5G calling features

  • Making calls interesting: Users can make calls more fun by using all kinds of emojis with gestures or voice commands.
  • Cartoon video call: Users can create their own digital images that can be displayed when making calls without turning on the camera.
  • Real-time translation: Multilingual real-time translation into text.
  • Smart customer service: Available online 24 hours to answer questions.
  • AI/GPT intelligent call: Using AI/GPT to answer questions.

Keynote: Next frontier for AI

Keynote Next frontier for AI

  • In healthcare, AI can help the doctor detect lesions at an early stage.
  • AI can help cars enable intelligent electrification, networking and information sharing.

Note: Please note that the posts above are still under development and are meant for providing general information only. They should not be considered professional advice. The authors and this website are not liable for any errors or damages resulting from the use of this information.

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Currency Fluctuation Limits Global Wafer Fab Equipment Revenue Growth to 9% YoY in 2022

  • Wafer fab equipment manufacturers’ net revenue increased to a record $120 billion.
  • The top five suppliers’ systems and service revenue increased to a record $95 billion.
  • The WFE market’s total revenue is expected to decline 10% YoY in 2023.
  • EUV lithography outlook remains strong despite weaker WFE outlook.
  • Weakness in wafer fab equipment spending in 2023 will drive lead time normalization.

 San Jose, Buenos Aires, London, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Beijing, Seoul – June 12, 2023

Wafer fab equipment (WFE) manufacturers’ revenue increased 9% YoY to a record $120 billion in 2022 despite the macroeconomic slowdown, currency fluctuations, component shortages and logistics disruptions. The increase was due to continued strength in investments by customers for both leading and mature node devices across segments, including IoT, AI, HPC, automotive and 5G. The top five suppliers’ systems and service revenue increased to a record $95 billion.

The WFE market’s revenue is expected to decline 10% YoY in 2023 to $108.45 billion after three consecutive years of growth. Despite a weaker WFE backdrop for 2023, the EUV lithography outlook remains strong due to the continued penetration of EUV into memory and logic, and foundries ramping up production of 3nm process nodes by applying Gate-All-Around transistor and FinFET architectures with increased EUV technology adoption.

Associate Director Dale Gai said, “During the past six months, TSMC has pushed out new capacities in 7/6nm and 5/4nm in the light of weaker market demand, while the capital spending on 3nm remains nearly the same as it planned at the beginning of 2023.”

"Counterpoint Research", Wafer fab equipment _PR_chart_1-Net Revenue-F

Source: Wafer Fab Equipment Revenue Tracker, Counterpoint Research

Commenting on the WFE market, Senior Analyst Ashwath Rao said, “The size of the WFE market in US dollar terms contracted by more than 8% in 2022 due to the impact of currency fluctuations, especially depreciation in the yen and euro-denominated sales since the beginning of 2022. Increased R&D spending in 2022 ahead of the inflection positions the WFE market to outperform the semiconductor market in the long term as these new technologies transition to volume manufacturing.”

Commenting on the market dynamics playing out in 2023, Rao said, “Manufacturers are more skewed towards foundry-logic segments today unlike in 2019, and with overall backlog strength, increased visibility in terms of long-term agreements and subscription model will help limit the downside. The weakness in wafer fab equipment spending in 2023 will drive lead time and inventory normalization. The slowdown in memory-oriented investments will begin to recover gradually starting in the second half of 2023, and 2024 will be a big year for the equipment industry. Manufacturers are well positioned to take advantage of the opportunity.”

Background

Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the technology, media and telecom (TMT) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.

Ashwath Rao

Dale Gai

Neil Shah

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Global Cellular IoT Connections to Cross 6 Billion in 2030

  • Global cellular IoT connections grew 29% YoY to reach 2.7 billion in 2022 with 4G continuing to grow its majority share.
  • China held more than two-thirds of total cellular IoT connections in 2022, followed by Europe and North America.
  • NB-IoT dominates in China, while LTE-M is preferred in Australia, Japan and North America; Europe supports both.
  • 4G and NB-IoT are the most preferred technologies for cellular IoT applications.
  • 5G is nascent as module prices and breadth of applications reflect early-stage dynamics.
  • IoT growth drivers are shifting, with the enterprise and transformation initiatives key in propelling IoT connections forward.

San Diego, Buenos Aires, London, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Beijing, Seoul – June 12, 2023

Global cellular IoT connections grew strongly at 29% YoY to reach 2.7 billion in 2022, according to Counterpoint’s latest Global Cellular IoT Connections Tracker report. They are expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.8% to reach an installed base of over 6 billion by 2030. China held more than two-thirds of total cellular IoT connections in 2022, followed by Europe and North America.

Amid the challenges faced by various industries, such as inflation, macroeconomic headwinds and supply chain constraints, the cellular IoT market has experienced remarkable growth fuelled by the digital transformation initiatives undertaken by various industry applications like smart meters, automobiles and asset tracking in particular. Cellular IoT connectivity has played a significant role in enhancing productivity, streamlining operations, minimizing downtime, automating processes and generating cost savings for industries. The COVID-19 outbreak unexpectedly proved beneficial for enterprise IoT players, accelerating their digital transformation efforts.

Commenting on the cellular IoT connectivity technology dynamics, Senior Research Analyst Soumen Mandal said, “At the end of 2022, 4G and NB-IoT together accounted for nearly 90% of the installed base of cellular IoT connections. 4G emerged as the most preferred technology for cellular IoT connections after surpassing 2G and 3G-based IoT connections in 2016. NB-IoT has gained significant popularity in China, while Japan, Australia and North America prefer LTE-M technology for lower-end applications. Europe has adopted a combination of NB-IoT and LTE-M, supported by roaming services offered by most operators.

In recent times, 4G Cat 1 bis technology has gained significant popularity over NB-IoT due to its superior performance. Applications such as POS, telematics and smart meters are increasingly adopting this technology on a larger scale. The rising shipments of devices based on 4G Cat 1 and 4G Cat 1 bis technologies are contributing to the stagnant market growth of NB-IoT.

5G is still nascent but we expect 5G-based applications to pick up as the module ASP (average selling price) drops to sub-$100 and more 5G RedCap-based solutions become available in the market. The introduction of 5G RedCap and 5G eRedCap will play a crucial role in driving mass adoption of 5G, particularly in developing and underdeveloped countries.”

Global Cellular IoT Connections Installed Base-Counterpoint Researcht

Commenting on the market outlook, Research Vice President Neil Shah said, “The global cellular IoT connections installed base is expected to surpass 6 billion by 2030 with a CAGR of 10.8%. The growth will be mainly driven by cellular connectivity adoption across various sectors such as utilities, automotive, industrial, retail and healthcare. Unlike the previous decade, where consumer devices like smartphones and PCs played a significant role in driving cellular connections, this decade will see a shift towards cellular connections being propelled by the digital transformation initiatives undertaken by enterprise IoT payers. The widespread adoption of cellular connectivity will also contribute to a further reduction in prices for cellular-connected devices, making them more competitive against alternative non-cellular connectivity technologies like LoRa, Sigfox and Wi-SUN. Over the past year, the cellular IoT industry has witnessed many consolidations, including Telit’s acquisition of Thales’ cellular IoT business, Semtech’s acquisition of Sierra Wireless, and Aeris Communications’ acquisition of Ericsson’s IoT accelerator and connected vehicle cloud business. As the cellular IoT module market continues to mature, we can expect more consolidations aimed at providing improved solutions and maintaining competitiveness against other non-cellular connectivity technologies.” 

The comprehensive and in-depth ‘Global Cellular IoT Connections Tracker, 2022’ report is now available for purchase at report.counterpointresearch.com.

Feel free to reach us at press@counterpointresearch.com for questions regarding our latest research and insights.

Background

Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the technology, media and telecom (TMT) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.

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Soumen Mandal

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Neil Shah

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Mohit Agrawal

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Webinar: 5G IoT will Redefine Logistics & Transportation Ft. Soumen Mandal

Our Senior Research Analyst Soumen Mandal will be speaking in an upcoming virtual workshop ‘5G IoT will Redefine Logistics & Transportation’ powered by GSMA and APAC 5G Industry Community.

Title: 5G IoT will Redefine Logistics & Transportation
Date: Thursday, April 20, 2023
Time: 3PM – 5PM (Singapore time GMT+8)

Summary:

With the promise of wireless fiber speeds, broader coverage, higher capacity, and more stable connections, 5G, the fifth generation cellular technology, is set to connect billions of IoT including sensors, cameras, vehicles, machines and robotics, etc. 5G IoT will redefine the logistics and transportation, enhance operational
efficiency and better customer service via end to end digitization. This virtual event will bring together mobile, logistics & transportation, technologies specialists from various industries including mobile network operators, regulators, and enterprises from the APAC 5G Industry ecosystem. Topics include:

  • Overview of 5G IoT development
  • Redefine Logistics and Transportation in the 5G era
  • Pioneer innovative 5G examples
  • How we can accelerate the digital transformation with policy, technology, ecosystem and partnership area?

To get live updates you can watch this space or follow us on Twitter 

Click here (or send us an email at contact@counterpointresearch.com) to schedule a meeting with Soumen Mandal.

Read More About The Event “5G IoT will Redefine Logistics & Transportation”

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Global Cellular IoT Module Shipments Jump 14% YoY in 2022 to Reach Highest Ever

  • Quectel and Qualcomm dominated the cellular IoT module and chipset markets, respectively.
  • NB-IoT is still popular among technologies but is expected to lose some market share to 4G CAT1.bis in 2023.
  • 5G adoption to get a boost in 2024 if ASP declines to sub-$100 and 5G RedCap-based solutions become available.
  • China continues to lead IoT module market, followed by North America and Western Europe.

San Diego, Buenos Aires, London, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Beijing, Seoul – March 29, 2023

Global cellular IoT module shipments grew 14% YoY in 2022 to register record high annual volume, despite macroeconomic headwinds, according to Counterpoint’s latest Global Cellular IoT Module and Chipset Tracker by Application report. The resumption of smart meter implementation, ongoing retail POS upgrades, intelligent asset tracking and the continued growth in connected cars due to progress in electrification and autonomous capabilities were some of the key drivers for the double-digit percentage growth in demand for IoT modules.

China continued to lead the global cellular IoT module market in terms of demand, followed by North America and Western Europe. Meanwhile, India was the fastest growing market, followed by Latin America and North America. Although India has a smaller base, it has immense potential. Eastern Europe was the only region that registered a decline due to the prolonged Ukraine-Russia war.

Commenting on the competitive dynamics among cellular IoT module OEMs, Senior Research Analyst Soumen Mandal said, “In 2022, Quectel was the top cellular IoT module player in China, the world’s largest market for these components. Meanwhile, China Mobile and Fibocom captured second and third place, respectively, enjoying their tremendous scale in the domestic market. Outside of China, Quectel remained the leader followed by Telit and Thales which have merged and will commence operations as a new brand, Telit Cinterion, starting Q1 2023.

Quectel increased its focus in the consolidating automotive (NAD module) segment in 2022 and secured multiple design wins with major automakers. The competition in the NAD module market is intensifying as the industry transitions to 5G connectivity. With every transition of cellular technology, we have seen the market consolidate as it becomes increasingly challenging to serve the automotive segment, which requires heavy customization but garners a lower margin.

China Mobile, the world’s largest CSP and IoT connectivity player, is becoming more vertically integrated by leveraging its massive scale to capture maximum value. It has the potential to break into the top three global cellular IoT module rankings this year. However, the company primarily operates in China and will need to expand into other verticals and markets via a robust partnership model to maintain its momentum.”

IoT Module Market 2022 Counterpoint

Commenting on the IoT cellular connectivity chipset player dynamics, Associate Director Ethan Qi said, “Qualcomm continued to dominate the cellular IoT chipset market in 2022 with nearly 40% shipments share. Qualcomm strengthened its position in the LTE CAT 4 and higher technologies while also maintaining a dominant position in the 5G market. Qualcomm recently launched its latest 4G CAT1.bis chipset, QCX216, to compete head-on with the LTE CAT1.bis leaders UNISOC and Eigencomm.

Qi added, “In 2022, UNISOC and ASR maintained their second and third positions due to strong adoption of the fast-growing LTE CAT1.bis and CAT 1 based modules, respectively. During the year, two new players from China, Eigencomm and Xinyi Semiconductor, broke into the top five cellular IoT chipset vendor rankings, filling the gap left by Hisilicon. Eigencomm focuses on NB-IoT and 4G CAT1.bis applications while Xinyi Semiconductor focuses on NB-IoT chipsets, both being low-cost but high-volume segments.”IoT Chipset Market 2022 Counterpoint

Commenting on the technology landscape, Mandal added, “During 2022, NB-IoT remained the most popular LPWA IoT connectivity technology followed by the fast-growing 4G CAT 1 and 4G CAT 4 modules. Together, these contributed to 60% of the total IoT module market. For most of 2022, China was under lockdown due to the resurgence of COVID-19 which drove greater demand for products such as smart door locks, digital thermometers and wearables, mostly powered by NB-IoT.

NB-IoT saw strong adoption in China but has been less popular outside the country. In contrast, 4G CAT.1bis has been gaining traction globally and has the potential to be an alternative to several NB-IoT and existing 2G/3G applications such as smart meters. However, 5G saw slower adoption in IoT than in smartphones last year due to the higher module costs. The key initial 5G applications are PCs, CPEs and some industrial/enterprise applications.

We believe 5G will enter the mainstream market once the module ASP breaks the sub-$100 barrier and receives a further boost from the 5G RedCap commercialization in coming years.”

Commenting on the IoT market outlook for 2023, Associate Director Mohit Agrawal said, “Global cellular IoT module shipments (including NAD modules) are expected to register robust growth of 19% YoY in 2023. The growth of IoT module shipments in the high-value industrial segment will be key for the IoT projects that have struggled to move beyond the pilot stage and for companies that are focusing more on ROI in a tough macroeconomic environment. Nevertheless, shipments of IoT modules for the smart meter, point of sale (POS) and the automotive markets are expected to continue seeing strong growth, which will offset a slowdown in other segments.”

The market has been undergoing consolidation across the IoT value chain from module players and connectivity management to IoT platform players. This has highlighted the importance of scale, choosing the right vertical and capturing value by striking the right partnerships or developing the right capabilities. We could see some more exits and mergers in 2023 because IoT, which is very vertical driven, has been seeing volatile growth due to internal or external factors.”

For detailed research, refer to the following reports available for subscribing clients and individuals:

Counterpoint tracks 1,500+ IoT module SKUs on a quarterly basis and provides forecasts on shipments, revenues and ASP performances for 80+ IoT module vendors, 12+ chipset players and 18+ IoT applications across 10 major geographies.

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Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the technology, media and telecom (TMT) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.

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Related Posts

Qualcomm Aware: Pivotal SaaS Play to Catalyze the Complex IoT Ecosystem

The entire world is going through digital transformation with connectivity at the center intelligently bridging the edge-cloud gap. The data emanating at the edge, whether it is telemetry data from the sensors or location, has been pivotal in adding intelligence, context, and analytics to the connected asset to enable quick, accurate, informed, and timely decision-making.

If we look at the entire IoT or location value chain, it spans from the endpoint/edge (possibly a device/sensor/gateway) to the network infrastructure, enabling connectivity between the edge and the software or API-driven cloud and analytics platforms. While connectivity is the glue, location also provides important context to the asset and the data emanating from the asset.

WATCH: Qualcomm Aware Platform Explained

Power of connectivity and location

We have extensively researched and talked about the IoT market and the importance of end-to-end control, from chipsets, modules, and devices to connectivity to the platforms, including both IoT and location. The IoT landscape, which has been fragmented, is now undergoing consolidation as there is a significant mismatch between the value being created and captured. However, the success in IoT lies in a player which can be integrated and offer end-to-end capabilities while also remaining open and flexible to work with different partners across the value chain at the same time. This should allow the player to create and capture maximum value opportunities for everyone and accelerate the digital transformation journeys of different companies.

Qualcomm has been the leading and largest “connectivity” chipset provider in the IoT and automotive segments, shipping hundreds of millions of chips every year. While connectivity and IoT are natural to Qualcomm, the San Diego-based systems company has also realized the importance of blending the power of location and connectivity. Therefore, Qualcomm has acquired its long-time partner Skyhook, a Boston-based company that has been a leader in the development of location technologies integrating into the devices, and PoLTE, a Dallas-based company focusing on cellular-based accurate positioning technology for mobile devices to IoT applications such as fleet management and asset tracking. Driving location-based intelligence right from the chipset via APIs reduces a lot of integration-related difficulties for companies trying to connect their assets to the cloud securely and seamlessly.

WATCH: Qualcomm Aware Platform Use Cases Demo

Qualcomm Aware SaaS platform – API-driven chip to cloud connectivity

With its important position in the IoT value chain and leveraging its location and connectivity expertise, Qualcomm recently launched Qualcomm Aware, an API-first platform offering secure and out-of-the-box chip-to-cloud integration. Qualcomm is doing this via an intelligent software on top of the chip to help solution makers optimize, configure, and transmit location and telemetry data from the edge to the cloud simply via APIs integrating with partner solutions.

counterpoint qualcomm aware platfrom solution
Source – Qualcomm

Initial capabilities: Location data, connectivity management, security and more

The Qualcomm Aware solution can be tailored to specific verticals, applications or use cases. It comprises of following capabilities:

• Location data GNSS, cellular, Wi-Fi, hybrid location, geofencing, etc
• Power-optimized, configurable hardware and software components
• Security – edge to cloud, Silicon Root of Trust, provisioning, etc
• Connectivity management – cellular, roaming, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc
• Devices – With Qualcomm Aware low-power embedded chipsets

In our opinion, the platform for a particular use case, such as asset tracker, might offer the full solution to start with. But when the need to scale up arises, the platform will have to become more modular so that the end customers or system integrators have more options to choose from. For example, just leverage location APIs or with connectivity management or the off-the-shelf Qualcomm Aware partner devices or not.

Initially targeted use cases: Asset tracking

counterpoint qualcomm aware platfrom use case asset tracking
Source – Qualcomm

Since it blends location and connectivity well, asset tracking is the lowest-hanging opportunity for Qualcomm Aware.

Qualcomm has partnered with Quectel, Ikotek, Thundercomm, and others to build Qualcomm Aware-ready asset trackers to help customers kickstart with the offering as the previous-generation chipset-based devices cannot be upgraded to become Qualcomm Aware compatible. While the solution comes with bundled connectivity (via partner), Qualcomm does not aim to become an MVNO and step on its partners’ toes. For the mapping, routing and location data, Qualcomm is partnering with Mapbox and TomTom in this initial phase. Larger players such as HERE and Google are expected to be on the partnership roadmap eventually.

counterpoint qualcomm aware platfrom asset tracking
Source – Qualcomm

Therefore, transport and logistics is the initial target segment, followed by retail, manufacturing, construction and utilities.

Success will be in partnerships and moving to self-serve model

Qualcomm is thus expanding its capabilities and offerings to become a strong enabler with a platform play in this high-potential, fragmented but consolidating market. The timing of the launch might be questionable for many considering the ongoing consolidation, but we believe this is the best time to enter the market with a unique and highly scalable platform to invigorate this market, especially with a strong position in the edge market.

counterpoint qualcomm aware platfrom partners
Source – Qualcomm

To be successful with a SaaS approach, being open and striking the right partnerships is paramount. It is great to see Qualcomm striking partnerships across the value chain, from module and device manufacturers, software and middleware players, and location and mapping vendors to system integrators and cloud players. Qualcomm will have to invest in and empower dedicated pre-sales, consulting and post-sales teams to make headway into these markets. Moving to a self-serve model would be critical to further scaling the SaaS business.

Key takeaways: Chip-to-cloud partner-driven IoT and location platform approach

• No vendor other than Qualcomm enjoys a strong position when it comes to the edge of the market.
• As intelligence moves to the edge, a secure edge-to-cloud connectivity offering can help simplify integration, portability and provisioning of IoT solutions, catalyzing the IoT ecosystem.
• Qualcomm Aware helps the company broaden its portfolio beyond hardware to a recurring and scalable software/services business, which investors and partners would welcome.
• Further, Qualcomm Aware can help crack the significant but complex and fragmented IoT market to make a play in the $700-billion connected intelligent edge opportunity.
• The platform’s future success will depend on how Qualcomm expands its partner ecosystem across verticals and geographies while also moving to a self-serve model.

MWC 2023 Day 2: TECNO Phantom V Fold, realme GT3 240W, CloudSIM™ and More

It was yet another busy day in chilly Barcelona with some interesting announcements. Nothing revealed details of its upcoming smartphone, realme announced the GT3 240W with the fastest charging tech, TECNO showed off its folding smartphone, Oasis Smart-SIM showcased its CloudSIM™ solution, and much more. Below is our quick summary of the announcements from Day 2 of the MWC 2023:

TECNO joins the foldable revolution

TECNO made its MWC debut launching several products, including the Phantom V Fold, Spark 10 Pro selfie phone and Megabook S1 2023 laptop. Of course, the standout product announced at the event was the TECNO Phantom V Fold book-type foldable smartphone. Under the hood is a MediaTek Dimensity 9000+ SoC, making it the second folding smartphone powered by MediaTek SoC after the OPPO Find N2.

The smartphone features a 6.42-inch 120Hz LTPO AMOLED cover screen and a 7.85-inch 2K 120Hz LTPO folding display inside, which is bigger than the Galaxy Z Fold4. It comes with a 5,000mAh battery and 45W fast charging. The TECNO Phantom V fold will first launch in India at a price of $1,099 for the 12GB RAM and 256GB storage version, making it the most affordable book-type folding smartphone. There will also be a 512GB storage version priced at $1,222.

counterpoint mwc 2023 day 2 tecno phantom v fold back

The Africa market, where TECNO is the #1 brand, is relatively dominated by the low-end segment. Expansion to overseas markets, where consumers are ready to pay a more premium amount, has also presented an opportunity for TECNO to launch devices in higher price bands. For that, foldables currently seem to be the perfect option to make a statement in the premium segment. Since it is a new segment, OEMs also have opportunities to launch products at new price points. The debut of its foldable at the MWC 2023 cements TECNO’s global aspirations.

realme GT3 240W brings the fastest charging tech to smartphones

realme is holding true to its ‘Dare to leap’ motto. In 2022, it was the first OEM to offer a 150W charging-capable smartphone. The company is pushing the boundaries further and has now become the first brand to introduce a 240W-capable smartphone. At the MWC 2023, realme announced its latest phone, the GT3, featuring 240W charging capability. According to the realme presentation, the 240W technology is capable of fully charging the GT3’s 4,600mAh battery in roughly 10 minutes, and it can charge to 50% capacity in just four minutes.

counterpoint mwc 2023 day 2 realme GT3 240w
Courtesy – Madhav Sheth (realme)

GT3 is the fastest phone in the industry to charge from 0 to 20% in only 80 seconds, which realme showcased in the real-time demo during the MWC announcement. realme also claims this is the industry’s fastest charging speed while gaming. A vapor chamber liquid cooling system takes care of the overall health of the battery by reducing extra heat produced during fast charge. realme added multiple sensors and a fireproof design to the new device while also addressing the major issue of battery longevity, which reduces due to fast charge. The GT3’s battery can be at 80% battery health after 1,600 charging cycles which is double the industry standard of 800 cycles. The realme GT3 price starts at $649 for the 8GB RAM with 128GB storage variant.

Oasis Smart-SIM demonstrates new CloudSIM™ solution

At the MWC 2023, Oasis Smart-SIM and TATA Communications jointly revealed their latest innovation, the CloudSIM™. It is a remote hardware SIM which is stored in a dedicated, secure, GSMA-certified environment. CloudSIM™ is primarily aimed at use cases that do not require permanent connectivity. The overall cost of connectivity is reduced by limiting the number of profiles required for fleet operations and providing on-demand connectivity. The below video demonstrates some of the key use cases of the CloudSIM™ solution.

Nothing Phone (2) to be powered by Qualcomm flagship SoC

 Nothing made a small announcement at the MWC 2023 about its upcoming smartphone. While it did not reveal much, the company did mention that the next smartphone will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8-series chipset. This will be a big upgrade from the existing 7-series SoC on the Nothing Phone (1). However, Nothing did not mention which chipset it will be using, so it could be the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 or could also be last year’s Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC. Looks like we will have to await further details.

Thales launches the world’s first GSMA-certified iSIM with Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon mobile platform

Thales has announced that its integrated SIM (iSIM) solution has now been certified by the GSMA and is ready to be deployed commercially with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 platform. In 2021, Thales, Vodafone and Qualcomm had shown a working demonstration of the iSIM.

What is iSIM? And why is it important?

iSIM is a type of SIM that is directly integrated into the processor of the device. As the next step of SIM evolution, iSIM offers significantly more space reduction than eSIMs do and lowers power consumption. This is also part of a bigger trend where we have seen multiple components, such as the modem, getting integrated into the processor of the device. Along with smartphones, iSIMs also bring multiple benefits to the IoT ecosystem.

counterpoint mwc 2023 thales qualcomm isim
Image Courtesy: Thales

Currently, around 20% of smartphones shipped in 2022 were eSIM capable. The adoption of eSIM in smartphones has been slower than what was expected three years ago due to a variety of reasons. However, the biggest hurdle has been the need for additional components required to add eSIM capability.

For iSIMs, it would be a different case because the SIM is integrated into the processor and its adoption, unlike the eSIM, will be dependent on the support of chipsets. The iSIM will see faster adoption than the eSIM because the number of players providing chipsets is limited. While we have already seen multiple IoT devices with iSIM, the first iSIM smartphone is expected in 2024.

Huawei Watch GT Cyber gets an extreme makeover

Huawei showcased its Watch GT Cyber, which is already available in China since November 2022. The smartwatch comes with interchangeable cases, and the display updates when inserted into a new case. It uses magnets along with mechanical parts to remain connected with the cases. The concept is similar to smart bands with changeable straps but with innovation that makes the whole watch body different. We will have to see if Huawei allows third-party case makers to function with the smartwatch.

counterpoint mwc 2023 day 2 huawei watch GT cyber

The Huawei Watch GT Cyber flaunts a 1.32-inch circular display with a resolution of 466x466pixels and a pixel density of 352ppi. It is water resistant up to 5ATM and comes with all the regular sensors like a barometer and magnetometer. The battery can last up to seven days on a single charge. It also has a Bluetooth calling feature.

Huawei showcases the 5.5G era and its use cases

With 5.5G, Huawei aims to offer 10X better performance over 5G, and thus create 100-fold business opportunities by opening up five frontiers:

1) Expansion in services with immersive and interactive experiences

Online 3D malls and 24K VR gaming to become mainstream. While 5G allows these use cases, 5.5G will enhance them. Huawei expects over one billion users.

2) Enable industry digitalization

Huawei expects private networks to increase 10x as the tech becomes more capable. It forecasts one million private 5G networks by 2030.

counterpoint mwc 2023 huawei 5.5g

3) Cloud applications entering a new era, creating new opportunities for network connectivity

The company aims to reduce latency which will further make cloud applications more reliable and accessible.

4) Cellular networks cover all IoT applications and passive IoT enables 100 billion connections

Passive IoT tags (e.g. RFID) will allow further solutions to better warehouse management, asset tracking, and other scenarios. Huawei expects 100 billion passive IoT tags per year from 30 billion in coming years as industries get more digital.

5) From communication to integrated sensing and communication, facilitating new services

Huawei aims to develop a more connected world using the sensing capabilities of 5.5G. It would help bring up information about areas where cameras are unable to work like during fog or rain. This would make transportation much safer.

With inputs from Varun Mishra, Karn Chauhan, Ankit Malhotra and Harshit Rastogi.
This is a developing post…….

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