The rise of LPWANs will translate into one billion chipset shipments with the technology generating a total value of more than $2 billion in 2025.
"The success, or otherwise, of different LPWAN technologies at stake will much depend on the market they are targeting case by case," says Samuel McLaughlin, Research Analyst at ABI Research. "Regardless of the targeted use case, LPWAN technology suppliers should aim to create solid ecosystems around their technologies by either partnering with service platform providers or building one of their own. Otherwise, they will face serious hurdles in this fast-moving and highly competitive market."
LPWAN can be split into two main categories; technologies that operate under unlicensed spectrum and those operating under licensed spectrum and using 3GPP standards. Although unlicensed technologies — whether proprietary technologies like SIGFOX or those based on open frameworks like LoRa and Weightless — are gaining a considerable momentum within the IoT market, they will be increasingly challenged by the emerging technologies based on 3GPP standards, notably NB-IoT.
"LPWAN technologies operating under unlicensed spectrum have the early market advantage and provide the quickest time to deployment, and the lowest infrastructure and operating costs for many IoT applications," continues McLaughlin. "However, emerging 3GPP LPWAN technologies like eMTC and NB-IoT are promising similar performance and have many more advantages. These include strong support from the telecommunications ecosystem, the ability to operate ubiquitously across the cellular infrastructure already in place, and most importantly, the scalability for service providers to easily and quickly add new services to their portfolios using the same infrastructure."