Information & Communication Technologies


US Tier I Carrier Profiles—Identifying the Growth Opportunities in IoT

IoT to Drive Growth for Mobile Operators, Total Cellular IoT Connections to Reach 165.0 Million in the US by 2022
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Published: 23 Feb 2017

Cellular Internet of Things (IoT) connections have grown steadily over the past few years, and the value of network operators continues to grow in the industry. Since the transition from machine-to-machine (M2M), the focus has changed from connecting devices to building an ecosystem to manage devices, derive actionable data, and use this data to make decisions. This is all while protecting data from point of capture to point of storage. The industry is shifting away from connectivity to an integrated ecosystem of services; however, connectivity remains the bedrock of IoT solutions. Without ubiquitous connectivity, IoT does not work. As purely a communication service provider (CSP), revenues and margins are a race to zero. To provide value, CSPs must move up the value stack and develop value-added services that differentiate them from others in the industry. At the same time, operators must clearly understand how they communicate the benefits of these offerings to prospective customers and partners and clearly demonstrate how they are helping IoT users achieve the desired return on their investments (ROI) in IoT. The level of operator investments in IoT depends on their go-to-market strategy and the overall relationship with solution providers and wholesale IoT mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) partners. It comes down to strategic assets, such as platforms, people, processes, and partnerships (the four Ps of IoT), that make a difference in this business. Mobile operators can drive market growth by establishing the correct partnerships, developing a complete ecosystem of specialized solution providers, and dedicating proper resources to help end users successfully manage various aspects of their connected machine initiatives. It is no longer enough to rely extensively on strategic partners to deliver solutions—in certain cases it is actually beneficial to adopt a more direct-to-customer approach in IoT. Mobile operators are also evaluating network-centric strategies for IoT by considering deployment of machine-optimized cellular networks (such as LTE Cat M1) and dedicated, non-cellular low power wide area networks such as LoRaWAN. Additionally, they are also entering into global agreements with other network operators to support global deployments in an effective and economical manner. This Frost & Sullivan strategic insight presents an overview of the US Tier I mobile operators Internet of Things strategies. It includes details of the IoT offerings and market strategy of AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile USA and presents Frost & Sullivan’s perspectives on the key strengths and challenges for each of these providers.

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