Covid-19 “slowing IoT growth”, study shows
Written by: Richard Hook | Published:
Software devices circle with IoT in middle The IoT is growing (Credit:

A new study from Strategy Analytics has revealed a slower than expected growth in Internet of Things (IoT) connections due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ‘IoT Cellular Connections by Air Interface by Region’ report found that 5G accounted for less than one per cent of IoT connections in 2020, but would likely rise to 40 per cent of the overall 3.5bn cellular IoT connections expected by 2030.

Strategy Analytics has revised its 5G connections forecast downwards in the short term, with only a slight year-on-year increase projected in 2021. The report’s data forecasts that global IoT cellular connections will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11 per cent between 2019 and 2030.

The organisation suggests that the majority of 5G connections will not be significant until 2026, with 4G remaining the dominant technology over the forecast period.

"The pivot to 5G in IoT will be a gradual one, rather than a dramatic shift,” David Kerr

According to report author Andrew Brown, changes in demand during the pandemic have meant that even as 5G is developed, 4G has continued to co-exist to “provide extensive coverage at a lower cost and remain very important in the IoT”.

Brown suggested that the growth in 5G modules for IoT “will start slowly”, with many applications requiring only low power data rates and affordable modules. Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) is expected to reach mass adoption first, followed by ultra-Reliable and Low Latency Communication (uRLLC).

David Kerr, senior vice-president of the global wireless practice at Strategy Analytics, added: “The tipping point for 5G in IoT occurs when support for mMTC, a price decline in hardware, and widespread network coverage see NB IoT and Cat M folded into 5G standards and devices.

“For this reason, we think the pivot to 5G in IoT will be a gradual one, rather than a dramatic shift.”

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