Global Cellular IoT Module Tracker 2021
蜂窝物联网模块市场受到新型冠状病毒感染（COVID-19）的冲击，全球销售额同比下降8%至31亿美元。全球蜂窝物联网模块出货量有所下降，但只有中国市场有所增长，出货量同比增长14%。这是由于新型冠状病毒感染（COVID-19）的影响，使全球许多与物联网相关的工作暂时中止，但中国市场在短暂的城市封锁后按计划进行。 LTE-Cat1 技术在中国以外的国家占蜂窝物联网模块的 23%，在中国占 12%，是物联网采用的强大驱动力。
近年来，全球汽车物联网蜂窝连接模块市场发生了结构性变化，中国模块厂商占据市场主导地位。 2019 年初，Telit 将其汽车部门出售给了TUS International的 Titan Automotive Solution。 2020 年，Sierra Wireless 将其汽车部门出售给由 Fibocom Wireless 领导的 Rolling Wireless。Thales和uBlox是中国以外唯一涉足汽车领域的模块制造商。虽然中国模块制造商依赖软 SIM 卡，但像Thales这样的公司正在强调内置于基于硬件的 eSIM 的安全汽车模块的好处。
中国采用的 LTE-Cat 1 bis 也开始在欧洲采用。替代 LTE-M 仍然是零散的，在多个欧洲国家不可用，因此 LTE-Cat1 bis 已成为可行的替代方案。 LTE-Cat1 还具有不产生额外网络成本的优势，因为它不需要基站软件和硬件升级。
本报告调查了全球蜂窝物联网模块市场，包括市场概况、市场规模（出货量/收入）趋势和预测、增长率、市场份额、蜂窝连接技术和批发平均售价（ASP）。它总结了趋势，分析市场领先的蜂窝技术，以及 LTE-Cat1 在中国和其他地方的地位。
As part of IoT Analytics' expanding market coverage of IoT markets, IoT Analytics this month launched an in-depth cellular IoT module market tracker that provides a quarterly look at the revenues and shipments of 33 companies providing cellular connectivity hardware modules for IoT deployments. With 4.5 billion cellular IoT connections expected by 2025, the market for cellular IoT modules is in a long-term cyclical uptrend (which was disrupted in 2020 by COVID-19). Every connected device that makes use of a cellular connection (e.g., 2G, 3G, 4G, or 5G) uses either a cellular IoT module or a cellular chipset embedded directly into the printed circuit board of a device or a piece of equipment. The promise of pre-configured IoT modules has become increasingly attractive in recent years, as customers are looking to decrease time-to-market for IoT solutions and multi-connectivity setups have made it more complicated for companies to develop their own solutions.
The data analysis performed by IoT Analytics shows that the global cellular IoT module market took a strong hit in 2020 due to COVID-19, with global revenues declining 8% year-over-year (YoY) to $3.1 billion. The situation was different in China. Cellular IoT module shipment in China grew 14% YoY in 2020, while cellular IoT module shipment in the rest of the world declined.
The reason the Chinese market expanded while other markets contracted is simple. Many IoT initiatives were halted or, in some cases, cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19. IoT initiatives in China, however, were much less affected and continued as planned after a short COVID-19 lockdown.
IoT Analytics segments the cellular IoT module market by connectivity technology, including two different subsegments of 4G: LTE-Cat 1 and other 4G.
One of the exciting trends that has emerged from the research is that the connectivity picture in China is quite different than in the rest of the world.
Outside of China, LTE-Cat 1 penetration is much stronger than, for example, narrowband (NB)-IoT penetration. LTE-Cat 1 makes up 23% of the market outside of China but only 12% in China. Cellular/licensed low-power wide-area (LPWA) shipments (NB-IoT and long-term evolution-machine type communication (LTE-M)) contributed to only 10% of the market outside of China in 2020. China is focused on NB-IoT; 90% of all NB-IoT shipments in 2020 originated there.
The rise of LTE-Cat 1 started in North America a few years ago. That is when LTE-Cat 1 started to become the go-to alternative for 2G and 3G IoT applications as 2G networks were retired by network operators. The massive migration from 2G/3G to LTE-Cat 1 started in 2018. Telit, Thales, and Sierra Wireless, for example, have collectively shipped more than 40 million LTE-Cat 1 modules in the last three years in the outside-China region. As evidenced in the data, the decline in shipments of 2G/3G modules was directly proportional to the increase in shipments of LTE-Cat 1 modules outside of China.
In recent years, NB-IoT has become the new alternative for 2G IoT applications in China. NB-IoT thus became the licenced LPWA technology of choice in China. However, the absence of LTE-M in China and technical limitations within NB-IoT have led to a rise in demand for a new segment: low-cost LTE-Cat 1 bis modules. Cat 1 bis, which is based on the 3rd Generation Partnership Project's (3GPP) Release 13, is characterized by a single antenna and is optimized for low-power applications. This is in contrast to the LTE-Cat 1 standard adopted in North America, which is defined by 3GPP's Release 8 and is supported by two receive (Rx) antennas. 3GPP's Release 8 LTE-Cat 1 is based on Intel and Qualcomm chipsets, whereas 3GPP's Release 13 LTE-Cat 1 bis is driven by UNISOC 8910DM.The Release 8 LTE-Cat 1 modules cost, on average, $10 more than the Release 13 LTE-Cat 1 modules.
In contrast to five years ago, the cellular IoT module market today is dominated by Chinese providers. Quectel, Fibocom, and SUNSEA AIoT have established themselves as market leaders, and the market expansion in China during 2020 has increased their market position (although 2020 growth rates among Chinese players are quite different).
Quectel's revenue from cellular IoT modules grew 44% YoY in 2020 due to an increase in LTE-series and LPWA module shipments. In addition, a significant increase was reported in the company's embedded automotive segment, which served more than 60 Tier I suppliers and more than 30 vehicle original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Fibocom's revenue from cellular IoT modules grew at a similar rate in 2020 due to increased LTE-Cat 1 bis and NB-IoT module shipments. In response to customer demand, Fibocom increased its IoT module production by 65% YoY in 2020.
Revenues declined for all European and North American providers in 2020. Thales' decline was due to the adverse impact of COVID-19 on the automotive and point-of-sale sectors. Telit's revenue decline was partially explained by the downturn in the deployment of smart meters for water and electricity in Asia-Pacific. Sierra Wireless's revenue declined due to the divestiture of its automotive-embedded module product line to Rolling Wireless, a consortium led by Fibocom Wireless Inc., and lower sales of mobile computing and networking modules caused by the design losses of two higher-margin computing module customers. Tight component supply in late Q3 and Q4 2020 was also a factor.
A global chip shortage is affecting 2021 shipment volumes and profit margins.
According to IoT Analytics data, the global chip shortage had already affected some cellular module companies in Q4 2020. Most cellular module companies have a large backlog of orders in hand, and chip shortages have led to higher chip price volatility. Hence, in 1H 2021, we expect a global decline in shipment volume for the overall cellular IoT module market and a decrease in profit margins for module makers. The chip shortage is therefore hampering the COVID-19 cellular IoT recovery in Europe and North America. Markets there are not expected to grow as much as they could.
Many automotive IoT modules are changing to soft-subscriber identity modules (SIM).
The global automotive IoT cellular connectivity module market has undergone structural changes in recent years, as the market is now dominated by Chinese module players. In early 2019, Telit divested its automotive segment to TUS International's Titan Automotive solution company. In 2020, Sierra Wireless sold its automotive division to Rolling Wireless, a consortium led by Fibocom Wireless Inc. Thales and uBlox remain as the only non-Chinese module players engaged in the automotive segment. Chinese module players depend on soft-SIM, while companies like Thales promote the advantages of a secure automotive module embedded within a secure element and a hardware-based eSIM.
Europe is adopting LTE-Cat 1 bis.
The Chinese adoption of LTE-Cat 1 bis is starting to also gain traction in Europe. Since the alternative, LTE-M, is still fragmented and is not available on a multi-country scale across all of Europe, LTE-Cat 1 bis is emerging as a viable alternative. LTE-Cat 1 in general comes with the benefit that it does not require software and hardware upgrades for the base station, so there are no additional network coverage costs.
Are you interested in learning more about the cellular IoT module market?
The “ Global Cellular IoT Module Tracker 2021” provides a holistic view and includes technological and regional deep dives into the global cellular IoT module market. It also contains detailed market sizing by region, technology, and 33 key companies. The tracker is based on publicly available information and IoT Analytics intelligence gathered from companies active in the market via telephone interviews and personal meetings at business events during the last three years.
This tracker provides answers to the following questions (among others):