How big is the Internet of Things opportunity for mobile operators? One has to be careful when big numbers are thrown around.
Internet of Things represents a US$1.8 trillion in global revenue for service providers by 2026, according to Machina Research. That does not mean service providers will earn that much revenue themselves. The $1.8 trillion almost certainly includes the total ecosystem activity, much as “e-commerce” includes the retail value of goods sold, but not direct revenue or profit for any single part of the ecosystem.
Having not read the full study, and without knowing the methodology, it is hard to say whether the $1.8 trillion includes the full value of all exosystem sales (likely, in my opinion) or something more important for communications service providers, namely mobile participation in connectivity, applications, devices and platform revenue streams.
My guess has to be that the forecast represents Iot ecosystem revenue, not service provider revenues.
It is hard to see how service provider IoT revenues could be as big a market as $1.8 trillion, simply because global mobile revenues in 2012 were about $1.2 trillion. In fact, GSMA estimates total industry revenues will only be about $1 trillion in operator revenue in 2020.
There is no way IoT, in 2026, generates more revenue than the entire global mobile industry in 2017.
The research also indicates that the Americas region will account for an estimated US$534billion, or approximately a third of the total revenue.
Mobile IoT networks are expected to have 862 million active connections by 2022 or 56 percent of all LPWA connections, Machina estimates.
By segment, consumer demand for connected home will be US$441 billion, consumer electronics will be US$376 billion) and connected car technologies will represent US$273 billion in activity.
However, other areas such as connected energy look set to reach US$128 billion by 2026 as a result of local governments and consumers seeking smarter ways to manage utilities. Similarly, revenues from connected cities are forecast to reach US$78 billion by 2026, Machina Research sys.
Mobile IoT networks are expected to have 862 million active connections by 2022 or 56 per cent of all LPWA connections.
IoT is crucial, strategic and necessary if the global mobile industry is to replace expected lost revenues from voice and text messaging, as well as slower growth of mobile data services and device revenue.
But IoT will not be as big a connectivity revenue stream as some believe. Success really hinges on mobile service providers becoming key suppliers in other areas of the ecosystem as well.