LTE M2M Cellular Modules to Exceed 50% of Total Module Shipments by 2021

26 Apr 2016

ABI Research, the leader in transformative technology innovation market intelligence, forecasts LTE M2M cellular modules will grow to over 50% of total module shipments by 2021. The company’s detailed cellular M2M module market tracker monitors LTE forecasts across seven categories, covering both single mode and multimode variants across Cat 1, Cat 0, Cat M1 and Cat M2 (NB-IoT) technologies. In total, ABI Research tracks 14 cellular technology categories across 2G, 3G, and 4G markets.

“The train has left the station,” says Dan Shey, Managing Director and Vice President at ABI Research. “With the recent ratification of the Cat M1 standard and later Cat M2, it is pretty clear that LTE will rapidly replace 2G and 3G connections in some of the major M2M markets.”

North America is one region where rapidly expanding network coverage and a very competitive operator environment will drive LTE’s connection dominance in IoT.  Verizon is the most aggressive with LTE as they are more reliant on LTE for competitive advantage than are the GSM operators of AT&T and T-Mobile. Of the developed world markets, Europe’s LTE M2M module shipment share will be the lowest.  2G modules are still preferred due to high network coverage and some operators are looking to extend 2G with the EC-GSM standard.

LTE shipment growth rates rapidly accelerate later in the forecast period as Cat M1 and Cat M2 modules gain a foothold in a myriad of application segments.  However module revenue growth will not be nearly as robust as shipment growth since M1 and M2 modules are far less expensive than 3G and the higher speed and capacity 4G modules. 

“There are lots of expectations for LTE Cat M1 and M2 technologies, and there are certainly tremendous opportunities particularly for creating new IoT application segments,” concludes Shey. “But the hyper growth expected for these technologies has many uncertainties, including the appeal and attractiveness of various LPWA business models, operator connection pricing, and competition from other connectivity architectures and technologies. Cooperation among many IoT suppliers is required if the potential of these technologies is to be realized.”

These findings are part of ABI Research’s M2M and IoT Modules and Devices Service, which includes research reports, market data, insights, and competitive assessments.

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For more than 25 years, ABI Research has stood at the forefront of technology market intelligence, partnering with innovative business leaders to implement informed, transformative technology decisions. The company employs a global team of senior analysts to provide comprehensive research and consulting services through deep quantitative forecasts, qualitative analyses and teardown services. An industry pioneer, ABI Research is proactive in its approach, frequently uncovering ground-breaking business cycles ahead of the curve and publishing research 18 to 36 months in advance of other organizations. In all, the company covers more than 60 services, spanning 11 technology sectors. For more information, visit

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