If the proposed merger of T-Mobile and Sprint is approved, the combined company will surpass Verizon in the IoT sector by 2025 and become the second largest IoT service provider in the country, according to new research from Counterpoint.
AT&T still dominates the cellular IoT space and is projected to account for 53% of the market by year’s end, but the company’s market share is expected to decline to 48% by the end of 2025, according to the firm. Verizon, the next closest competitor currently, is expected to reach 22% of the IoT market by the end of 2018 and continue growing to 26% by the end of 2025.
However, the proposed combination of T-Mobile and Sprint will upend that dynamic and place Verizon at the bottom of the pack, according to Counterpoint’s projections. Perhaps more interesting is that the combined company is projected to reach the No. 2 spot in the IoT sector without adding any significant market share.
Both companies are adding IoT cellular connections—T-Mobile grew by 39% year-over-year—but their gains are being offset by industrywide momentum throughout the sector. Cellular IoT connections grew 21% in the first half of 2018 and are expected to grow 25% year-over-year by the end of 2018, according to the firm.
Sprint’s 14% share of the market is expected to remain steady through 2025 and T-Mobile will make a modest gain from 11% at the end of 2018 to 12% at the end of 2025, according to Counterpoint. Taken together though, T-Mobile and Sprint’s IoT connections will just barely surpass Verizon by the end of 2025.
Many factors and market conditions could change between now and 2025, but the ongoing rollout of 5G services could have the largest impact. “5G IoT cellular connections will contribute to 16% of USA IoT cellular connections by 2025,” wrote Jeff Fieldhack, research director at Counterpoint. Autonomous vehicles, drones, high-definitions surveillance cameras and industrial applications will drive the bulk of 5G’s growth in IoT, he added.
While IoT cellular connections are widely dispersed among the top four carriers, each company has developed strengths in key verticals. AT&T’s dominance is largely aided by its automotive connections; Verizon’s IoT connections are dominated by transport, logistics and enterprise; Sprint’s IoT business is largely driven by energy, industrial, automotive and enterprise; and T-Mobile is mostly driven by energy, industrial and enterprise, but it’s expecting to make significant gains in smart city applications during the coming years, according to Counterpoint.