Low-power IoT devices to drive massive growth in cellular roaming

Low-power IoT devices to drive massive growth in cellular roaming 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 (@gadgetry@techhub.social)


A new report from Juniper Research predicts explosive growth in cellular roaming among low-power Internet of Things (IoT) devices over the next five years.

Juniper’s report forecasts that the number of roaming connections from narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) and LTE-M devices will grow over five times from 90 million in 2023 to 490 million by 2028.

The massive increase will be fueled by more bilateral roaming agreements between mobile operators that are tailored to better monetize roaming traffic from resource-constrained IoT devices. These agreements will enable seamless connectivity for assets crossing borders, opening up new use cases in areas like supply chain tracking, connected cars, and smart city infrastructure.  

However, Juniper cautions that carriers today often struggle to accurately detect and account for IoT traffic on their networks.

The intermittent connectivity patterns of low-power devices make collecting roaming revenue complex. To fully capitalise on this potential new revenue stream as roaming volumes grow, operators will need to invest in AI and machine learning capabilities to identify IoT device connections and usage.  

“Operators must fully leverage the insights gained from AI‐based detection tools to introduce premium billing of roaming connections to further maximise roaming revenue,” said Juniper research author Alex Webb.

“This must be done by implementing roaming agreements that price roaming connectivity on network resources used and time connected to the network.”

The new landscape creates both opportunities and imperatives for carriers globally to adapt their networks and business practices to the fast-rising new category of cellular IoT roamers. Capturing value from billions of mobile assets promises to become a key telecom growth narrative in the years ahead.

(Photo by Andy Hermawan on Unsplash)

You can find the full report here (paywall)

See also: IoT MVNOs shift focus to value-added services

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