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IoT market set to grow to 4 billion

The 2021 edition of The Global M2M/IoT Communications Market report has been published by research firm Berg Insight. In this guest blog post, Fredrik Stålbrand, Senior Analyst at Berg Insight, highlights some interesting findings from the report.

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Fredrik Stålbrand, Senior Analyst Berg Insight
August 25, 2021

The 230-page strategic report analyses the global M2M/IoT communications market and presents insights on the latest trends and developments.

The global number of cellular IoT subscribers increased by 12 percent during 2020 to reach 1.74 billion – despite the negative impact from the Covid-19 pandemic. That number is estimated to grow to almost 4 billion IoT devices connected to cellular networks worldwide by 2025.

Nordic outlook is bright

The Nordics is one of the most advanced regions in Western Europe based on the number of cellular IoT subscribers. At the end of Q2-2020, there were over 21.2 million IoT subscribers, compared to a population of 27 million. The year-on-year growth rate was 10 percent for the whole region.

China leading the way

The year 2020 marked the first year since the early 2010s that cellular IoT connections grew slower in China compared to the global average, as the largest player China Mobile reported a negative change in its IoT subscriber base.

However, China is the world’s largest market for cellular IoT connectivity services by volume. The installed base grew by 11 percent year-on-year to reach 1.14 billion IoT connections at the end of 2020.

The role of the Chinese government is the main explanation for why China is ahead of the rest of the world in the adoption of IoT. Authorities actively endorse large-scale IoT deployments as a method for addressing problems affecting society, whether it is crime, fire safety, energy conservation or traffic management. The private sector is encouraged to do the same.

Contrasting trends globally

North America and Western Europe ranks as the second and third largest markets for IoT solutions with 188 million and 171 million IoT subscribers respectively at the end of 2020. In contrast to China, developments in these regions are largely driven by commercial interests. The connected car is currently one of the strongest trends with around 70 percent of new cars sold featuring embedded cellular connectivity in the regions.

Telenor remains at forefront of IoT

Telenor has retained its position within the top three IoT operators in Europe and top 10 IoT operators worldwide. In the report, Telenor is described as the dominant player in the Nordic region, with a substantial international reach in Europe and worldwide.


In Telenor Connexion´s What is IoT – a guide to IoT terminology you can read more about the global IoT market.

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