SAN JOSE, Calif. — New LTE standards for cellular IoT are off to a slow start with some carriers just now turning on relatively expensive services. Nevertheless, competition in silicon making wide-area IoT links is strong, and the 3GPP's road map is expected to drive a wave of chip upgrades for cellular IoT.
Long term, the Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) version of LTE and its unlicensed rival LoRa are expected to dominate wide-area wireless deployments in the Internet of Things. But getting there may take time.
“The volumes are not taking off anywhere but China and even China isn’t growing at the pace it was predicting. Their initial projections of 600 million units by 2020 won’t happen,” said Christian Kim, a senior analyst for IHS Markit, which plans to update its forecast in December.
“Markets are still below what we expected a year or two ago, primarily due to the immaturity of the networks, especially in Europe where there is not wide coverage for NB-IoT. We are now on the ramp we expected would have come six to nine months ago,” said Vieri Vanghi, a 20-year Qualcomm veteran who launched and manages its LTE IoT business.