Global cellular IoT module shipments to cross 780 million units in 2024: Report

  • Qualcomm is expected to hold nearly half of the global cellular IoT chipset market by 2024.
  • India is expected to experience the highest growth (38 percent) in shipments in this market.

The COVID-19 outbreak and recent supply shortages in semiconductor material have adversely affected the cellular module market. However, the pandemic has accelerated the pace of IoT adoption, with organizations prioritizing it as a path towards digitalization. With high priorities, Global cellular IoT module shipments will cross 780 million units in 2024 to reach $11.5 billion in revenues, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Global Cellular IoT Module and Chipset Forecast.

Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) will lead the cellular IoT module shipments by 2024, followed by 4G and 5G. The NB-IoT is a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) radio technology standard developed by 3GPP that helps to enable a huge range of cellular services and devices. The technology is basically centered on improving high connection density, low cost, indoor coverage, and long battery life.

Commenting on regional dynamics, associate director Jan Stryjak said, “The growth of NB-IoT will keep China ahead of other regions in the cellular IoT module market. However, India is expected to experience the highest growth (38 percent) in shipments. The commercial deployment of NB-IoT by the country’s major telecom operators, such as Jio, Vi, Airtel and BSNL, will help usher growth in cellular module shipments in India.”

North America will emerge as the second largest region in this market by surpassing Europe. 5G module shipments will start picking up in developed countries like the US, Japan and South Korea while the Middle East and Africa, Russia, India and other Asian countries will bet on lower-cost LPWA technologies (LTE-M and NB-IoT)

Chinese players Quectel, Sunsea and Fibocom are expected to hold nearly 45 percent share in the cellular IoT module shipments in 2024. Neoway and Meig are the dark horses in this market and projected to increase share. After becoming successful in the homegrown Chinese market, these brands are entering other regions with a wide range of products, and cloud services. The complete product offerings from modules to cloud services will help in the growth of these module vendors.

Qualcomm is expected to hold nearly half of the global cellular IoT chipset market by 2024. With its leadership in 5G market, supply shortages being faced by Hisilicon and sanctions imposed by the US, Qualcomm is going to maintain its legacy in this market. The strengthening partnerships with long-tail module vendors like Gosuncn, MobileTek, AM Telecom, Cheerzing, USR (WenHeg), Wutong (Broadmobi), Yuge Technology and Wistron NeWeb are also helping Qualcomm to increase its market share. 

Niel Shah, vice-president (research), Counterpoint, said: “MediaTek recently launched 5G-powered T700 and T750 chipsets targeting the PC and FWA router segments respectively. We may witness strong competition between Qualcomm and MediaTek for the 5G cellular IoT chipset market, just as we see in the smartphone chipset market. Unisoc is targeting NB-IoT-based applications like smart meter and telematics, and may emerge as the leading player in the NB-IoT chipset market in China next year.”

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