Cellular IoT deployments ramping up
Cellular Internet of Things (IoT) connections are on track to grow fivefold from 2017 to 2023, reaching 3.5 billion connections, according to telecoms equipment vendor Ericsson's latest Mobility Report.
Ericsson has more than doubled its forecast for cellular IoT connection growth since the last report in November 2017. The company now expects there to be 3.5 billion connections by 2023.
Cellular IoT connectivity covers both narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) and LTE Cat-M1 mobile IoT networks. Telstra, Optus and Vodafone Australia have all deployed cellular IoT networks in various parts of the country.
But the rapid connection growth will be largely fuelled by ongoing large-scale deployments in China, the report states.
The report also notes that the first commercial launches of networks using the next evolution of mobile technology, 5G, are expected in the US this year. The 5G standard is expected to deliver mobile data speeds in the range of gigabits per second.
But initial deployments of 5G will be focused on fixed wireless access because the standardisation process is still underway.
The first commercial smartphones supporting 5G in mid-band spectrum are expected by early next year, but the full experience won't be available until devices also supporting 5G in very high spectrum bands hit the market later that year.
By 2023, Ericsson predicts that 20% of the world's population will be covered by 5G. Australian mobile operators, like their counterparts in numerous markets, have been testing the technology in advance of its commercial launch.
The report also predicts that 5G will be carrying more than 20% of mobile data traffic worldwide by 2023. Total mobile data traffic is on pace to grow eightfold to reach 107 exabytes per month by this time.
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