Berg Insight: Global cellular IoT connections grew 12% last year to reach 1.7B

Berg Insight: Global cellular IoT connections grew 12% last year to reach 1.7B Ryan is a senior editor at TechForge Media with over a decade of experience covering the latest technology and interviewing leading industry figures. He can often be sighted at tech conferences with a strong coffee in one hand and a laptop in the other. If it's geeky, he’s probably into it. Find him on Twitter (@Gadget_Ry) or Mastodon (

Research from Berg Insight suggests the number of global cellular IoT connections continued to grow at a healthy pace last year.

An overall increase in the number of IoT connections is unsurprising over the past year as more people became accustomed to remote working and finding ways to make their home environments more productive and enjoyable. However, most home IoT connections aren’t cellular.

Berg Insight says the global number of cellular IoT subscribers increased by 12 percent during 2020 to reach 1.74 billion—showing continued high demand, even amid a global pandemic.

According to Berg Insight’s projections, there will now be 3.74 billion IoT devices connected to cellular networks worldwide by 2025.

The Western Europe and North America regional markets recorded the highest growth rates at over 15 percent. Meanwhile, growth in China slowed notably.

Fredrik Stalbrand, Senior Analyst at Berg Insight, said:

“The year 2020 marked the first year since the early 2010s that cellular IoT connections grew slower in China compared to the global average, as the largest player China Mobile reported a negative change in its IoT subscriber base.

Following China Mobile’s decision to stop adding new IoT connections to its 2G network in the first half of 2020, it has embarked on a programme to migrate 2G users to NB-IoT and 4G LTE Cat-1 services.”

China Mobile retains its lead as the world’s largest provider of cellular IoT connectivity services with an estimated 658 million cellular IoT connections. China Unicom and China Telecom ranked second and third with 240 million and 238 million connections, respectively.

Berg Insight also predicts China will lead in the development of vehicle-to-everything (V2X) capabilities.

Martin Svegander, Senior Analyst at Berg Insight, commented:

“Policymakers in China favour C-V2X, whereas the US and the EU have been in a regulatory uncertainty.

In 2020, the FCC reassigned a portion (30 MHz) of the 5.9 GHz band used for ITS to C-V2X.  Berg Insight believes that C-V2X will account for about 78 percent of all V2X enabled vehicles in 2025, mainly represented by China. About 50 percent of all new cars sold in China will feature C-V2X as standard in 2025.

Examples of automotive OEMs that have launched C-V2X in China include BYD, GAC, FAW, GM/SAIC, Ford, BAIC BJEV, Weltmeister, Great Wall, Human Horizons, and NIO”,

Vodafone took the lead in cellular IoT connections among Western operators to rank fourth globally with 118 million connections, followed by AT&T with 81 million in fifth place. Verizon, Deutsche Telekom, and Telefónica each boast of around 26–48 million cellular IoT connections. Orange and Telenor were the last players in the top ten with about 18 million and 17 million connections, respectively.

A copy of Berg Insight’s full report can be found here (PDF)

(Photo by Ravi Roshan on Unsplash)

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