Advent of 5G technology should outpace current sales of internet of things devices, research suggests

By Laurie Fullerton

As 5G is the chosen moniker for the next generation of wireless communication and internet of things (IoT), it currently remains just a concept. However, new research suggests that sales of 4G IoT modules will peak within two years, where sales of 5G modules will commence in 2019, reaching an inflection point in 2024 as they outsell 4G modules.

Further, IoT cellular device sales will reflect a transition in the dominant air interface from 4G to 5G through 2025, Strategy Analytics expects. Additionally, the automotive market will remain the single largest consumer of IoT cellular modules across the forecast period, but will significantly increase its market share position by 2025.

This transition is coming quickly and it is expected to be implemented by 2020 — giving the mobile industry a lot of work to do in a short amount of time.

Most wireless communication professionals agree that when 5G replaces 4G, it should address three key needs which include increased data rates of at least one gigabit per second for tens of thousands of users simultaneously and increased energy efficiency.

Whatever improvements are made to wireless communication by the release of 5G, the main goal is for it to be seamlessly integrated through speed and efficiency.

Andrew Brown, executive director of enterprise and IoT research at Strategy Analytics, said “While massive machine type communications will not be in the first release of the 5G standard, critical IoT components of the standard – such as ultra-low latency and high reliability – will be standardized in the first release and completed by 2018.”

Matt Wilkins, senior analyst IoT Research at Strategy Analytics added, “The transition in dominant air interfaces in IoT is part of the ebb and flow of technology in IoT, from 3G dominance, to 4G and on to 5G. The benefits of 5G, such as low latency and long modem battery life, open up possibilities for IoT cellular devices, enabling use cases such as remote surgery providing the surgeon with the sense of touch as well as real-time video in healthcare.”