5G Continues as a Niche for IoT, but Qualcomm is Leading the Way

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2Q 2022 | IN-6503

As the end of Q1 2022 approaches, ABI Research’s update on the IoT Cellular Module Model tracker is due to be released, an interesting finding of the go-to 5G chipset for 5G IoT module models is from Qualcomm with their Snapdragon XD62 and SDX55 chipset modems.

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The 5G Market and the Hardware Options are Growing


ABI Research’s Internet of Things (IoT) Cellular Module Model tracker displays data of cellular module models from 54 IoT module vendors, now including the chipset modem information where applicable. It is no myth that 5G is currently a niche for connectivity for IoT at this moment in time, but this is not due to the lack of hardware available. In the last six months, the 5G supporting module models, specifically sub-6GHz supporting modules, have increased from 45 to 74 across the collection of vendors that ABI Research monitors. Out of the 74 5G ready modules, 58 are based upon a Qualcomm chipset modem.

4G is Still Superior Over the New 5G


Presently, for the IoT market, 5G connectivity is considered a niche area since 4G is continuing to be the most-commonly supported cellular technology for IoT. The readily available infrastructures and the range of bandwidths available are two of the contributing factors as to why 4G is still the most-commonly supported cellular technology for the IoT, represented by the large share of the module market being made of 4G supporting modules—630 of the 1,185 catalogued.

Though there are plenty of other technologies at market, from a cellular standpoint, 4G is still leading the way. Cellular Low-Power Wide-Area (LPWA), such as Narrow Band (NB)-IoT and LTE Cat M, remains in the earliest stages of growth outside of China, for example. Once 5G has matured and found its place in the IoT market, the organic migration of 4G shifting to 5G for many 4G utilizing use cases will appear. It must be noted that this will only happen when 5G is able to offer the same capabilities that 4G can at the lower price point. Until this is seen, 5G offers many capabilities that 4G does not, such as quicker speeds, which is why the technology is considered a niche for IoT.

What is Qualcomm's Market Share Shaping Up to Be in 5G?


ABI Research has now catalogued over 1,100 IoT cellular module models in their IoT Cellular Module Model Tracker (MD-ICM), which continues to show a split of each cellular technology. 4G still shows as the most favorable, with over 50% of the module models catalogued supporting 4G technologies, ranging from Category 1 to Category 20.

The most recent iteration of the cellular module model tracker now includes chipset modem information, where applicable. The market data report offers a view of the information that is readily available to the public, though the benefit of this product is that it is all compiled into one place. In this instance, ABI Research were able to collect the chipset modem information (manufacturer and chipset modem) for 754 of the catalogued modules.

In the view of the 5G module market specifically, 78% of the module models for 5G contain a Qualcomm chipset modem. This is a huge share of the 5G IoT module market for Qualcomm, with their competitors including, but not limited to, MediaTek and HiSilicon. Not only does Qualcomm have a large share of the 5G specific market, but their large portfolio is also seen in 44% of all of the module models that are catalogued.




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