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Global cellular IoT connections top 3 billion at end of 2023

APR 15, 2024 | Matt Hatton
region: ALL vertical: ALL HyperconnectivityInternet of Things

Every quarter Transforma Insights' analysts collect cellular connections figures for dozens of operators and regulators. It's a critical part of the sanity-checking of our granular IoT forecasts. While there are disparities in definitions and other significant caveats that we always need to apply to published figures, they give a good top-down triangulation of our current base-line numbers.

Over 3 billion cellular IoT connections at the end of 2023

They also give us the opportunity to look at what the growth of the market looks like on a year-on-year basis. In total, the top 37 operator groups for which we collect figures almost hit 3 billion cellular IoT connections. 2.995 billion to be exact (and allowing for the other smaller players, connections are well in excess of 3 billion). That represents a 34% growth year-on-year, almost exactly the same in percentage terms as 2022.

We should automatically add some caveats to those figures. The big driver continues to be China with over 40% year-on-year growth and a share of global connections in excess of 70%, the figures for which need to be taken with a pinch of salt. Even applying some qualifications to the reported numbers, China grew by over 750 million in 2023, compared to 121 million for the rest of the world.

Outside China, market growth was stronger than 2022

Considering the rest of the world figures, the growth rate was 17%, up from 14% in 2022, which bodes well for IoT growth. And in absolute terms the 121 million growth compares very favourably with the 87 million reported in 2022. The biggest non-Chinese MNO was Vodafone with a reported connections figure of 184 million, up 28.5 million year on year. AT&T, Verizon, Telefonica and Deutsche Telekom make up the remainder of the top 5 operators.

Learn more about our IoT market forecasts

While these figures are interesting, and the chart above is fun to watch, the real value in this exercise is to give us a grounding for our IoT forecasts, which include cellular connections figures on a country-by-country and application-by-application basis. We provide some high level summaries of our forecast figures on our IoT Forecast Highlights page.

If you're interested in an even deeper dive, to learn more about the extensive work that we do forecasting the IoT market, check out our webinar on the 13th May: 'Transforma Insights’ annual global IoT market forecast update'.


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