Discussing LTE-M and the Future of Cellular LPWA

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By Jamie Moss | 2Q 2022 | IN-6441


NB-IoT: The Local Success Story


On paper, the Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) has been more successful than LTE-M. Nearly 105 million NB-IoT modules were shipped worldwide in 2021, versus just over 23 million LTE-M modules shipped in the same year. But it is no secret that China is responsible for consuming the majority of this NB-IoT bounty, with an estimated 66% share in 2021 that equates to 70 million units. Similarly, it has been Chinese module vendors that have sold most of all NB-IoT modules, 96% of those shipped globally in 2021, and it was Chinese semiconductor manufacturers that supplied the majority of all NB-IoT baseband modems shipped. China, however, is a captive market that is effectively inaccessible to foreign module vendors. To identify their opportunity, foreign vendors are only interested in understanding the cellular Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) market as divided into two principal segments: China, and the rest of the world. Non-Chinese module vendors do ship product to China, but not for consumption there. Instead, their modules are built into devices by Chinese manufacturers for internationa…

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