LoRa dominates connections but unlicensed LPWA feels the squeeze.
Strategy Analytics forecasts that global unlicensed LPWA connections will grow to around 400m connections by 2025, according to its report, “The Battle for Unlicensed LPWA Supremacy in the IoT.”
While initial expectations were very optimistic for unlicensed LPWA, especially given the wealth of low power requirements in IoT and first mover advantage for companies like Sigfox, the reality has been tempered by the exaggerated death of 2G networks, which have continued to form a large number of connections in countries like China, and the falling cost, and rapid ramp-up of NB IoT and Cat M on LTE networks.
Nevertheless, markets such as Utilities and those in Primary Processing as well as Industrial/Manufacturing and Transportation and logistics for track and trace/asset management functions, will continue to provide the largest markets for unlicensed LPWA in the future.
Andrew Brown, Executive Director of Enterprise and IoT Research at Strategy Analytics, said:
“LoRaWAN has become the dominant standard in unlicensed LPWA, assisted by taking a complimentary, rather than adversarial approach, which has helped the company expand the LoRa ecosystem as a complimentary solution to mobile network operators, as well as a primary low cost WAN solution. While we expect licensed low power technologies like NB IoT, Cat M and 5G mMTC to dominate in the longer terms, unlicensed LPWA has a future, especially in specific verticals and emerging markets.”