NB-IoT and LoRa dominate the LPWAN IoT market

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Research from Omdia finds the Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) IoT connections landscape is overwhelmingly dominated by NB-IoT and LoRa, which together accounted for 87% of total connections in 2023. This dominance is projected to continue, with these two technologies maintaining 86% of all LPWAN connections by 2030.

NB-IoT’s significant growth is primarily driven by its popularity in China, while LoRaWAN leads in most other regions. Both technologies are ideally suited for the mid-range IoT applications currently in demand, ensuring their sustained leadership in the LPWAN market.

LoRa is expected to remain the preferred choice for private IoT connections, while NB-IoT will expand through cost-effective implementations. Both technologies are set for continued success through 2030.

Shobhit Srivastava, Senior Principal Analyst at Omdia, said: “Although NB-IoT is the leading LPWAN technology, over 90% of its connections are in China. Outside China, LoRaWAN remains the leading LPWAN connectivity technology due to years of unchallenged growth and momentum.

“LoRaWAN, with its alliance-driven approach, boasts a mature ecosystem that allows customers to choose from a range of partners and application-specific experts. Its future success is assured by its differentiated offerings. Newer LPWAN technologies like Wi-SUN and Mioty are also growing, following the successful alliance model that LoRa initially championed to develop an ecosystem.”

While LoRaWAN and NB-IoT may compete fiercely in today’s market and through the forecast period, there is ample room for both protocols to be successful. LoRaWAN is now focusing on high-growth areas such as smart buildings, smart homes, and asset tracking.

“NB-IoT will gain momentum in Europe after starting in 2023 as several service providers deploy satellite-based NB-IoT connectivity to address coverage gaps in remote areas. This, along with certain government regulations, will bolster NB-IoT growth in the region,” added Srivastava.

“By the end of 2023, China still accounted for nearly 90% of global NB-IoT connections. The Chinese government and the three national mobile operators continue to advocate for widespread NB-IoT adoption supported by Chinese chipset vendors. As Chinese vendors introduce affordable modules in Europe and South America, the technology will see further growth.”

The LPWAN market is at a pivotal point, with NB-IoT and LoRa leading the charge. NB-IoT’s expansion beyond China, particularly in Europe, is set to reshape the landscape. Simultaneously, LoRaWAN’s established ecosystem and versatility in private networks ensure its continued relevance and growth.

“NB-IoT use cases remain largely confined to stationary applications with the most popular being smart metres and utilities (water/gas/electricity) and connected spaces (smart cities),” concludes Srivastava.

(Photo by Denys Nevozhai)

See also: Samsung unveils SmartThings Pro for businesses

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