Low-Power Wide Area (LPWA) connections from application-centric, private networks accounted for more than 90% of connections in 2015, but the market is undergoing a drastic transition as it shifts away from private networks in favor of public networks.
ABI Research, the leader in transformative technology innovation market intelligence, forecasts public networks to connect nearly 66% of total end-points by 2021.
“Standardized cellular LPWA technologies starting with LTE Cat M followed by NB-IoT will witness connections by 2017, as the technologies become commercially available,” says Adarsh Krishnan, Senior Analyst at ABI Research.
“Public LPWA networks using proprietary technologies will see the strongest surge in connections, boasting an average 56% CAGR through 2021.”
U.S.-based LPWA network specialist Ingenu recently announced it plans to provide public networks in 25 countries on six continents and will work with one licensed operator partner in each market. Sigfox and LoRa similarly both built up strong ecosystems of network and telco partners across the IoT value chain to build their own public LPWA networks.
LPWA network technologies unlock the market potential for new M2M and IoT applications at much lower costs by targeting applications that don’t require low-latency networks. Much of the future growth in proprietary LPWA connections is stemming from the smart meter and street lighting segments. Smart gas and water metering will show the most growth, as the meters are battery-operated and power consumption is an essential component to consider when choosing the appropriate connectivity technology. Meanwhile, smart street lighting shows private network leader, Telensa and its PLANet LPWA solution, facing increased competition from public LPWA networks.
“Although there is much hype surrounding public LPWA network technologies, the market is still seeing adoption of private networks,” concludes Dan Shey, Managing Director and Vice President at ABI Research. “For instance, Swiss Post recently announced it will follow La Poste in its plan to build a nationwide private LoRa network in Switzerland. Though public network will dominate market growth, private networks will not be dead in the water anytime soon.”