Cellular IoT module revenues declined 9 percent to US$ 5.4 billion in 2023

According to a new research report from the IoT analyst firm Berg Insight, annual shipments of cellular IoT modules amounted to 423 million units in 2023, down 3 percent from the previous year.

Annual sales declined by 9 percent to US$ 5.4 billion in the year. The decline was largely due to high inventory levels among customers, caused by the change in purchasing behaviour during the shortages of components.

The five largest cellular module vendors – Quectel, Fibocom, Telit Cinterion, Semtech and u-blox – held a 72 percent share of the market in terms of revenues. Until 2028, shipments of cellular IoT modules are forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13 percent to reach 786 million units.

The rapid growth of LTE Cat-1 bis module shipments is currently the strongest trend in the market. After UNISOC’s launch of the first LTE Cat-1 bis chipset in 2019, LTE Cat-1 bis modules account for more than 100 million units of the annual volume and are expected to remain the largest category throughout the forecasted period. LTE Cat-1 bis chipsets are now available from close to 10 suppliers, most of which are based in China. LTE Cat-1 bis module prices have dropped below US$ 5 per unit in large volumes on the Chinese market, where the modules are widely used across product categories such as POS terminals, asset trackers, vehicle telematics devices and smart meters.

LTE Cat-1 bis is also becoming a popular option across other markets, especially in regions where 4G LTE networks are expected to remain in operation for the foreseeable future. LTE-M modules however still beat LTE Cat-1 bis modules on pricing and are the more popular option for IoT devices with stricter requirements on power consumption and long lifecycle. As LTE-M is 5G-ready, it is suitable for IoT devices that will stay in the field for more than 10 years, which may prove critical as mobile operators in advanced markets will start to sunset their 4G LTE networks near the end of the decade.

In the high-speed segments, 5G is starting to replace high-speed 4G LTE variants across product categories like connected cars, FWA CPEs and IoT routers. 5G RedCap modules are starting to become generally available and will function as a replacement for LTE Cat-4 and LTE Cat-6 modules. Uptake of the technology is expected to accelerate in 2026–2027 when pricing and 5G SA network coverage have improved. Berg Insight has identified 10 cellular chipset suppliers that have launched or plan to launch 5G RedCap chipsets, which will over time contribute to a healthy device ecosystem.

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