Mobile operators use connectivity management platforms (CMPs) to facilitate the delivery of IoT connectivity services and offer self-service connectivity management solutions to enterprise customers. The adoption of third-party platforms has increased notably in recent years, although many mobile operators still use bespoke or in-house developed solutions to serve all or parts of their IoT operations.
In 2018, the number of devices managed on commercial IoT CMPs stood at 770 million, accounting for 63% of the total installed base of cellular IoT devices in 2018. By mid-2019, the total number of devices under management (DuM) stood at 1 billion. By 2023, Berg Insight forecasts this figure to grow to 3.15 billion, with a compound annual growth rate of 32.6%.
Mobile operators such as Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Verizon and Telefónica continue to invest in the development of their proprietary platforms to differentiate from the competition.
IoT managed service providers comprise a third category of players that typically provide complete IoT connectivity management platforms next to connectivity and sometimes also other value-added services targeted at specific segments.
A key differentiator for IoT managed service providers (MSPs) is the ability to aggregate multiple networks on their platforms and thus provide superior area coverage, multi-domestic footprints and multi-technology connectivity.
Mobile operators must find their competitive niche or lose out to IoT MSPs. China Mobile and China Telecom have each partnered with IoT CMP vendor, Huawei, to manage more than 600 million IoT SIMs in mid-2019. Whale Cloud manages 106 million IoT SIMs.
IoT CMP vendor, Huawei has close ties to the domestic mobile operators China Mobile and China Telecom and managed more than 600 million IoT SIMs in mid-2019. Whale Cloud manages 106 million IoT SIMs.
Cisco is the largest commercial IoT CMP vendor outside of China with 130 million connections, followed by Vodafone and Ericsson. Vodafone is the only mobile network operator that licenses its platform to third-party service providers.
“IoT managed service providers play a key role in the ecosystem in western markets, where they account for around 10–15% of IoT subscribers”, said Fredrik Stålbrand, senior analyst, Berg Insight.
The variety of players in the IoT CMP market reflects the growing diversity of IoT connectivity offerings available.
“Enterprises will need to re-evaluate their connectivity needs and make more refined decisions about service delivery, carrier switching capabilities, coverage, security and pricing as their IoT projects evolve to the next level”, concluded Stålbrand.