India, China Grow Amid First Global Cellular IoT Module Shipments Annual Decline

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  • Several companies started local manufacturing in India.
  • 4G Cat 1 bis emerged as the fastest-growing segment.
  • Around 12% of the modules shipped in 2023 were equipped with AI capabilities.
  • Telit and Thales merger pushed Telit Cinterion into the top five IoT module vendors.

In 2023, global cellular IoT module shipments experienced their first-ever annual decline, decreasing by 2% year-on-year (YoY). The decline was attributed to inventory adjustments following supply chain disruptions and reduced demand in key market verticals like industrial and enterprise.

iot

According to a Counterpoint report, 4G Cat 1 bis emerged as the fastest-growing segment in 2023, capturing over 22% of the shipments. In China, it has become the primary cellular standard for various applications due to its affordability and energy efficiency, leading to a transition from 4G Cat 1 and NB-IoT to 4G Cat 1 bis.

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India and China showed positive growth driven by increasing demand in the smart meter, POS, and asset tracking markets. The rest of the world experienced a sharper decline, indicating a lack of expected market momentum.

Quectel, the leading module vendor, saw a decline in market share due to weakened demand outside China. The company partnered with Syrma SGS Technology to manufacture IoT modules in India. China Mobile and Fibocom experienced double-digit YoY growth, driven by applications in smart meters, asset trackers, POS, and telematics.

The merger between Telit and Thales propelled Telit Cinterion into the top five IoT module vendors. Telit also partnered with VVDN for local production in India. Several Chinese brands like Unionman, OpenLuat, Lierda, and Neoway showed significant growth in specialized markets like smart meters, asset tracking, and POS.

Around 12% of the modules shipped in 2023 were equipped with AI capabilities, gaining popularity in high-end markets like automotive, router/CPE, and PC to manage the escalating data load.

Looking ahead, the IoT module market is expected to return to growth in the second half of 2024, with normalizing inventory levels and increasing demand in the smart meter, POS, and automotive segments. Substantial growth is forecasted for 2025, coinciding with the widespread adoption of 5G and 5G RedCap technologies in various applications.

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