Report: Vodafone's M2M connections grew 47% in Q1

Subscriber numbers disclosed by major global operators indicate that the machine-to-machine sector has sustained strong momentum into the early months of this year, according to a new report from research firm Berg Insight. The firm claims that the high installation rate of new M2M subscribers will see year-on-year growth rates stabilising at around 15-30 percent. Vodafone leads all European operators in terms of the total number of M2M connections, according to Berg.

On a quarterly basis--of the operators that officially report M2M numbers--Berg Insight says that AT&T had the highest number of M2M connections in the world with 13.3 million for the first quarter of 2012, up 25 per cent year-on-year.

Next was Vodafone with 7.8 million subscribers at the end of the financial year ending March 2012, up 47 per cent compared to the number of M2M connections it had in the year-ago period. However, Berg noted that Vodafone's actual M2M subscriber base was higher as the declared figure excluded some devices in Vodafone's regional subsidiaries that are not connected to the group's centralised M2M platform.

Japanese operators NTT DoCoMo, KDDI and Softbank recorded year-on-year growth rates in the range 20-35 per cent and recorded between 1.9 million and 2.4 million M2M subscribers each.

But, for those operators that do not disclose M2M details, China Mobile is thought to have the largest installed base at around 15 million, followed by Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Telefónica at around 7-9 million

According to Berg, shipments of cellular M2M devices increased 35.3 percent in 2011 to a record level of 50.8 million units. Adjusted for churn, the research firm said this resulted in net additions of 29.3 million M2M connections in 2011, taking the worldwide number of cellular M2M subscribers to an estimated 108.0 million. The global machine-to-machine market is just getting going, and will soar to 359.3 million total M2M cellular connections in 2016, according to Berg.

Interestingly, the report found that due to the wide adoption of M2M across many vertical industries, a large portion of M2M device shipments is now due to replacement sales. As a result, Berg believes that the net increase of M2M subscribers will be substantially lower than M2M device shipments.

For more:
- see this release
- see this report (PDF)

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