NB-IoT and LoRa boost IoT connectivity, says Omdia

  • June 26, 2024
  • Steve Rogerson

NB-IoT and LoRaWan will drive LPWAN IoT connections past 3.5 billion by 2030, according to Omdia.

These technologies, which made up 87% of connections in 2023, are expected to maintain their lead with 86% of all LPWAN connections by 2030.

The research (omdia.tech.informa.com/advance-your-business/internet-of-things) found the LPWAN IoT connections landscape is overwhelmingly dominated by NB-IoT and LoRa, which together accounted for 87% of total connections in 2023. This dominance is set to continue, with these two technologies projected to maintain 86% of all LPWAN connections by 2030.

While NB-IoT’s significant growth is driven by its popularity in China, LoRaWan leads in most other regions. Both technologies are suitable for the mid-range IoT applications currently in demand, ensuring their sustained leadership in the LPWAN market. LoRa is expected to remain the preferred choice in private IoT connections, while NB-IoT will expand through cost-effective implementations, with both technologies poised for continued success through 2030.

“Although NB-IoT is the leading LPWAN technology, over 90% of its connections are in China,” said Shobhit Srivastava, Omdia senior principal analyst. “Outside China, LoRaWan remains the leading LPWAN connectivity technology due to years of unchallenged growth and momentum. LoRaWan, with its alliance-driven approach, boasts a mature ecosystem that allows customers to choose from a range of partners and application-specific experts. Its future success is assured by its differentiated offerings. Newer LPWAN technologies like Wi-Sun and Mioty are also growing, following the successful alliance model that LoRa initially championed to develop an ecosystem.”

While LoRaWan and NB-IoT may compete fiercely in today’s market and through the forecast period, there is ample room for both protocols to be successful. LoRaWan is now focusing on high-growth areas, such as smart buildings, smart homes and asset tracking.

“NB-IoT will gain momentum in Europe after starting in 2023 as several service providers deploy satellite-based NB-IoT connectivity to address coverage gaps in remote areas,” said Srivastava. “This, along with certain government regulations, will bolster NB-IoT growth in the region. By the end of 2023, China still accounted for nearly 90% of global NB-IoT connections. The Chinese government and the three national mobile operators continue to advocate for widespread NB-IoT adoption supported by Chinese chipset vendors. As Chinese vendors introduce affordable modules in Europe and South America, the technology will see further growth. NB-IoT use cases remain largely confined to stationary applications with the most popular being smart meters and utilities (water/gas/electricity) and connected spaces (smart cities).”