When IoT makes sense for MVNOs

What will my place be in the IoT value chain, and what do I need to change about my business to take advantage of it?

Guest author

July 16, 2018

3 Min Read
When IoT makes sense for MVNOs

In this commissioned report, the MVNOs Series explores when IoT is right for MVNOs, when an MVNO is ready to deliver IoT services, the growth sectors across different regions and whether the network is ready to deliver IoT services.

Across the globe, whoever you talk to in the mobile industry, one topic of conversation crops up again and again – the Internet of Things (IoT).

In Knect365’s latest MVNOs Market Survey, just under half of respondents (48.4 per cent) named IoT as the technology that would have the biggest impact on the industry in 2018. More than two thirds (68.8 per cent) said they would prioritise investment in technology in the year ahead, with IoT comfortably the biggest area of focus.

It is not difficult to understand why IoT attracts such interest from the mobile industry. The central concept of IoT is to turn electronic devices – from home appliances to industrial sensors, machine CPUs to public infrastructure – into networked devices. Cellular technology is seen as the natural solution to deliver machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity and data communication because it is long-distance, universal and, of course, mobile.

Estimates of the growth of IoT vary, but all anticipate enormous market opportunities. Gartner predicts that the total number of connected devices worldwide will more than double from 8.4 billion in 2017 to 20.4 billion in 2020. Business Insider puts the potential number of connected devices in 2020 at 34 billion, of which 24 billion will be IoT devices. Juniper Research believes by 2021 there will be 46 billion IoT devices alone.

Whatever the precise numbers, they all point to a huge growth market, with a large slice of its value available to network service providers. Total spending on IoT endpoints and services is already believed to exceed $2 trillion worldwide. The CAGR of IoT as a value stream is predicted to remain at around 30 per cent until at least the end of the decade.

These are heady figures for a mobile market that has been buffeted by falling margins for most of the past decade, brought about by the transition from voice to data markets, intense competition across the value chain, retail and wholesale price regulation, and the entry of OTT service providers into mobile.

Yet many in the mobile industry feel that IoT has been the ‘next big thing’ for five years or more, without any of the promised rewards materialising. The progression towards ‘smart’ cities, homes and industries, with advanced automation built around extensive device networking, has been more gradual evolution than revolution.

With the expected boom in demand for their services not quite materialising, many mobile businesses, and MVNOs in particular, have become hesitant about how the IoT opportunity relates to them. It sounds great, sure, but what does it mean in practice? What will my place be in the IoT value chain, and what do I need to change about my business to take advantage of it? And, crucially, when do I need to act?

In this report, the MVNOs Series will answer these questions by taking a closer look at the conditions that need to be in place for IoT to make sense for MVNOs. The discussion focuses on three key areas – market demand, network readiness and technology – before asking what MVNOs themselves must do to embrace IoT.

In doing this, we will summarise where some of the best opportunities for MVNOs exist in IoT, what differences in opportunity there are from region to region, and how MVNOs themselves can help to remove some of the barriers they face in entering the IoT market.

Download a copy of the report for all the insights – including comments from Thandi Damenet from TMForum, Sreenivas V from Plintron, David Traynor from Aspider-NGI and many more.

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