IoT Sensors and Devices Projected to Surpass Mobile Phones as Most Connected in 2018


Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to surpass mobile phones as the largest category of connected devices in 2018, according to the 2016 Ericsson Mobility Report.

IoT is expected to increase at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23 percent between 2015 and 2021, making up close to 16 billion of the total forecast 28 billion connected devices by 2021, according to the report.

LTE subscriptions grew at a high rate during Q1 2016. There were 150 million new subscriptions during the quarter, reaching a total of 1.2 billion worldwide.

Subscriptions associated with smartphones also continue to increase, and are expected to exceed those for basic phones in Q3 this year.

5G subscription uptake expected to be faster than for 4G

Global mobile broadband subscriptions will reach 7.7 billion by 2021, accounting for 85 percent of all subscriptions. Mobile broadband will complement fixed broadband in some segments, and will be the dominant mode of access in others.

1.5 billion IoT devices with cellular subscriptions by 2021

There were around 400 million IoT devices with cellular subscriptions at the end of 2015. Cellular IoT is expected to have the highest growth among the different categories of connected devices, reaching 1.5 billion in 2021. The growth is due to increased industry focus and 3GPP standardization of cellular IoT technologies. Cellular connections benefit from enhancements in provisioning, device management, service enablement and security.

IoT Set to Carry the Day

Mobile phones continue to be the largest category of connected devices, but in 2018 they are expected to be surpassed by IoT, which includes connected cars, machines, utility meters, remote metering and consumer electronics. IoT devices are expected to increase at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23 percent from 2015 to 2021, driven by new use cases.