China has overtaken the US to become the world’s largest market for cellular M2M connections, according to recent research from Informa.
In a blog post, Jamie Moss, an analyst with Informa, said the organization’s Cellular M2M Tracker showed that China Mobile added another 5.5 million M2M connections in the second half of 2012, propelling China ahead of the US on this measure.
According to Moss, the growth reported by China Mobile was roughly the same number of connections the UK had in total at the end of 2012.
Globally, the cellular M2M market is on track to have 315 million connections by the end of 2015 and generate operator revenues of $12.8 billion that year.
Even so, Moss says judging the industry on the basis of connections or participants is wrong, because the value of a single connection varies dramatically depending on usage.
He also notes that cellular “is not the be-all and end-all of M2M”, even though it is critically important.
“Not everything requires or can support individually paid-for point-to-point connectivity, so cellular is not universally applicable,” said Moss. “[Nevertheless] cellular as a bearer occupies a unique position – in that only the most valuable assets and most business-critical connections will make use of it.”
According to Informa, cellular is only found where its value more than covers any costs, and is typically associated with connectivity projects generating lots of revenue or with high-value segments of a particular project.
That means the highest returns are generally found wherever cellular is being used to support M2M services.
Informa notes that cellular M2M revenues will form only a small portion of total mobile network operator revenue by 2015, but says the true market value will lie in the financial gains made possible for enterprises using M2M to support processes, products and services.