Additional InformationExecutive summary
The global wireless M2M market was strong in 2011, displaying growth in all major world
regions and vertical segments. Berg Insight estimates that shipments of cellular M2M devices
increased by 35.3 percent to a new record level of 50.8 million units. Adjusted for churn, this
resulted in net additions of 29.3 million M2M connections in 2011, taking the worldwide
number of cellular M2M subscribers to an estimated 108.0 million. Until 2016, Berg Insight
forecasts that shipments of cellular M2M devices are forecasted to grow at a compound
annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.6 percent to reach 152.2 million units. Due to the wide
adoption of wireless M2M technology across many industries, a substantial share of M2M
device shipments is now generated from replacement sales. As a result the net increase of
M2M subscribers will be substantially lower than M2M device shipments. Berg Insight
forecasts that the number of cellular M2M connections will grow at a compound annual
growth rate (CAGR) of 27.2 percent between 2011 and 2016 to reach 359.3 million at the end
of the period.
The most significant market development in 2011 was a major breakthrough for cellular M2M
communication in Asia-Pacific. The number of M2M subscribers in the region increased by 64
percent to reach approximately 34.5 million at the year-end, fuelled by massive growth in
China that almost doubled its cellular M2M subscriber base to approximately 21 million. North
America and Europe recorded annual growth rates of around 26 percent each. At the end of
2011, the number of M2M subscribers in the EU and the US was around 30 million and 27
million respectively. Other world regions accounted for around 20 percent of the global
cellular M2M subscriber base in 2011. Latin America had an estimated 6.6 million M2M
subscribers, with Brazil being the most advanced country. South Asia and Southeast Asia
were in a very early phase of adoption with few M2M subscribers in major countries such as
India and Indonesia. The Middle East & Africa market was dominated by South Africa and
Turkey, which had in excess of 1 million M2M subscribers each.
A sweeping change has transformed the wireless modules industry in the past years. The
familiar brand names Siemens, Wavecom, Motorola and Enfora have disappeared and new
players such as Sierra Wireless and Gemalto are now in charge of developments. Chinese
vendors have taken over the domestic market and some of them are starting on international
expansion. Despite a consolidation among Western vendors, average selling prices for
wireless modules continue to decline and as a result industry revenues have been declining
in the past years. Well executed transformational strategies will be the key to success for
wireless module vendors in the years to come. Extended value propositions, product
innovation and more mergers and acquisitions are some of the things to expect. Meanwhile
software and system solutions has emerged as the fastest growing segment in the M2M
industry. Increasingly advanced large-scale M2M applications require advanced service
enablement platforms that integrate remote devices, mobile networks and enterprise
applications. A wide range of players are attracted by the market opportunities in the space,
most of them having backgrounds in embedded solutions, telecom OSS/BSS systems or
enterprise application platforms.
Mobile operators all over the world have announced initiatives for driving growth in the
wireless M2M market over the past years. The first results are now visible through rapidly
increasing numbers of M2M subscribers and higher revenues. Berg Insight estimates that the
world’s ten largest telecom operators by revenues had 68.2 million M2M subscribers at the
end of 2011, an increase of around 38 percent year-on-year. Around 3.4 percent of their
aggregated base of 2.0 billion mobile subscribers was M2M devices. China Mobile is believed
to have emerged as the world’s largest provider of M2M connectivity during 2011, with an
estimated 14 million subscribers at the year-end. AT&T established a clear leadership in the
US with 13.1 million M2M subscribers, up 40 percent year-on-year. Meanwhile Verizon
Wireless’ M2M subscriber base increased modestly to around 8.6 million. Vodafone held the
number three spot with approximately 9 million M2M connections, ahead of T-Mobile and
Telefónica, which ended the year with around 6–8 million M2M connections each. China
Telecom entered the top ten with around 4.5 million M2M subscribers, racing ahead of
Telenor, Sprint and Orange at 2.5–3.5 million connections each.
About the Author
Tobias Ryberg is co-founder and principal analyst
responsible for the M2M research series. He is an
experienced analyst and author of numerous articles
and reports about IT and telecom for leading Swedish
and international publishers. All major vertical market
segments for Wireless M2M have been his major
research area for the past 9 years.
Berg Insight offers premier business intelligence
to the telecom industry. We produce concise reports
providing key facts and strategic insights about pivotal
developments in our focus areas. From time to time we
also perform custom research assignments. Our vision
is to be the most valuable source of intelligence for our
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