Machine-to-machine (M2M) subscriber numbers are growing at between 15% and 30% per annum, statistics from some of the worlds leading operators show.
US carrier AT&T is top of the pile, with 13.3 million M2M subscribers at end 1Q12, up 25% year-on-year, research firm Berg Insight claims. Vodafone sits in second place with 7.8 million subscribers by end-March, some 47% higher than the same point in 2011, and Sprint third with 3 million customers – 15% up on end 1Q11.
However, Berg concedes its ratings don’t show the true picture in terms of global subscribers. Vodafone, for example, doesn’t include customers at some of its regional subsidiaries, while many other leading telcos don’t split M2M subscribers from their overall user numbers.
Of those, China Mobile is estimated to be the market leader with 15 million M2M customers, followed by Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Telefonica, which Berg reckons to have between 7 million and 9 million subscribers each. European rivals Orange, Telenor and Sprint are all estimated to have between 3 million and 4 million subscribers.