5G won’t be an instant hit in IoT market, says Berg Insight

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5G will make its first appearance in the IoT market in late 2020, according to a new report from the IoT analyst firm Berg Insight.

The first 5G cellular IoT modules will become available to developers this year, enabling early adopters to create the first IoT devices built around the standard. However, based on the experience of previous introductions of new standards, 5G will however not be an instant hit, Berg says.

By 2023, Berg Insight forecasts that 5G will account for just under 3% of the total installed base of cellular IoT devices.

Commercial breakthrough

Tobias Ryberg, Principal Analyst at Berg Insight, said, “5G still has some way to go before it can become a mainstream technology for cellular IoT. Just like 4G when it was first introduced, the initial version of 5G is mostly about improving network performance and data capacity.

"This is only relevant for a smaller subset of high-bandwidth cellular IoT applications like connected cars, security cameras and industrial routers.”

He said the real commercial breakthrough will not happen until the massive machine type communication (mMTC) use case has been implemented in the 5G standard.

mMTC is intended as an evolution of the LTE-M/NB-IoT enhancements to the 4G standard.

Since NB-IoT has only just started to appear in commercial products, there is no immediate demand for a successor, Berg Insight said, but notes that over time, fifth-generation mobile networks will become necessary to cope with the expected exponential growth of IoT connections and data traffic.

Homeland security?

The report identifies homeland security as an area where 5G cellular IoT coulc have a major impact in the early 2020s.

“5G enables the deployment of high-density networks of AI-supported security cameras to monitor anything form security-classified facilities to national borders or entire cities”, Ryberg said. “How this technology is used and by whom is likely to become one of the most controversial issues in the next decade.”