India was the only region with positive growth in the global cellular IoT module market while markets outside China and India experienced a steeper decline.
A 2% year-over-year (YoY) decline was observed in global cellular IoT module shipments for Q3 2023. This downturn is attributed to several factors, including weaker demand, rising interest rates, and cautious spending among enterprise IoT players.
The 5G market’s share in the global cellular IoT module market surpassed 5% for the first time, signalling progress in 5G adoption. The applications of 5G are currently limited, primarily due to the lack of compelling use cases and higher prices. Early adoption is seen in specific markets like routers/CPE, PCs, and automotive.
The IoT module market is experiencing a technology shift from 4G Cat 1 and NB-IoT to the more cost-effective and power-efficient 4G Cat 1 bis. This technology is gaining popularity for various applications such as point of sale (POS), smart metres, telematics, and asset tracking.
According to a Counterpoint report, the top five applications – smart metres, automotive, POS, router/CPE, and telematics – accounted for over 60% of total cellular IoT module shipments. Notably, only the smart metre and router/CPE segments showed positive growth in shipments.
India was the only region to register positive growth in the global cellular IoT module market. In contrast, markets outside China and India experienced a steeper decline. The overall market is not gaining the expected momentum.
Market leader Quectel and leading international vendor Telit Cinterion saw a decline in shipments, reflecting broader market conditions. However, Quectel exhibited a slight improvement sequentially in the global market.
In contrast, China Mobile and Fibocom, both among the top five vendors, witnessed positive growth. It was driven by specific applications such as smart metres, asset trackers, and POS for China Mobile, and router/CPE applications for Fibocom. China Mobile has established a subsidiary, BILIN’ZHILIAN, to boost its module business growth. Chinese brands like Unionman, OpenLuat, and Lierda saw growth in niche applications due to growing demand for smart metres, asset tracking, and POS applications.
A 5% YoY decline in global cellular IoT module shipments is predicted for 2023. However, a revival in demand is expected by the second half of 2024, with substantial growth expected for 2025. This growth is likely to coincide with the mass adoption of 5G and 5G RedCap technologies. In the long term, the market is expected to be driven by applications in smart metres, router/CPE, POS, automotive, and asset tracking.