Massive IoT has been gaining traction over the last several years driven largely by unlicensed spectrum technologies such as LoRa and SigFox driving down deployment and operation costs while increasing functionality through longer battery life. Cellular operators are taking notice, however, and are deploying several LPWA IoT options themselves incluging Cat-M and NB-IoT. These technologies are offering additional scalabity with national coverage, reliability with licensed spectrum control, and in some cases security. Additionally, because many corporate customers are already comfortable with the 3GPP models of cellular connectivity, there will be a natural sales channel advantage for MNOs for many use cases.
This paper discusses what is happening in the cellular IoT world compared to advances in unlicensed. It also explores ways operators are trying to expand their role in the value chain for IoT to capture additional revenue beyond connectivity.