IoT is a growing market for Communication Service Providers (CSPs). Now that so many companies are using IoT, service providers are developing and launching specific offerings and data plans that simply offer connectivity aren’t the only thing they’re offering.

As IoT develops, it touches every industry from Healthcare to Manufacturing to Retail to Public Utilities and Smart Cities. CSPs have a great opportunity here.

In a recent report our partners, RAD, aimed to gain a deeper insight into how carriers are embracing IoT services. The team looked at specific use cases of interest, and what architecture and network plans are in place for the various industries, as well as how carriers are approaching sophisticated IoT challenges such as network differentiation. Additionally, the report asked: Does CSP’s IoT strategy complement the emergence of 5G services more widely?

Based on the data collected from this survey, we can see what CSPs have accomplished so far, and what they plan to achieve in the next 18 months. Here’s what the key findings are for CSPs looking to break into or deepen their IoT footprint.


Key Findings 2023

CSPs will be able to offer more than IoT data plans alone in 2023
IoT is included in the service offerings of 95% of service providers.
As the market matures, 70% of our respondents now offer or plan to offer IoT cloud connectivity, and 57% provide service integration. In response to the shift from simple IoT data plans, where Communication Service Providers (CSPs) enable IoT devices to connect via SIM cards, service providers are now offering more sophisticated managed services and network differentiation to meet the demand and opportunity.

IoT verticals are being approached by Telecom Service Providers in a broad way
When considering where to offer IoT services, there is no clear industry target. In today’s market, 55% of CSPs focus on healthcare, 50% on industry and manufacturing, and 43% on retail. More than a quarter of CSPs also focus on government, energy, transportation, and smart cities. Support for IoT services is in high demand, and no doors are being closed.

The results are in: IoT and 5G go hand in hand
50% of private 5G providers bundle IoT managed services with their campus network – 5G enables scalable outdoor coverage, which is necessary for IoT installations. In addition, it maintains service continuity during handovers and allows low-latency connectivity for AGVs/mobile robots. 5G is becoming the de-facto converged OT/IT campus network, aggregating all campus endpoints, including IoT devices.

Service providers plan to offer IoT networking and security differentiation
CSPs are preparing for the growing IoT market, which includes a variety of connected devices and applications. Theyneed networking and security enhancements. A total of 58% of respondents said they will use network slicing for IoT, while 52% are building tools to enforce bounded latency and ultra-high network reliability (the term ‘bounded latency’ refers to latency that is not only low, but also deterministic, i.e., it does not exceed a certain threshold).

In real-time use cases like industrial machinery control, remote medical operations, and VR/AR, this is essential. Over 40% of CSPs are developing edge services via hyperscalers while administering services by their CSPs.

In order to aggregate and connect IoT data, CSPs need IoT gateways
In their private 4G/5G ecosystems, 97% of CSPs integrate IoT gateways to bridge a variety of interfaces and aggregate IoT devices. In this cohort, 49% of respondents are integrating existing brownfield sensors into their 4G/5G networks.

Aside from cost, the top features of IoT gateways that service providers want are all various network interfaces – WiFi AP support, LoRaWAN support and 5G uplink. Most CSPs opt for a single SKU (stock keeping unit) strategy, as this will limit complexity and cost by simplifying inventory, and make it easier for CSPs to serve a wide range of verticals and business use cases.


Who is RAD?

Our partner RAD delivers best-of-breed edge, xHaul and Industrial IoT solutions for communications service providers and critical infrastructure operators. Drawing on over 40 years of innovation and expertise, RAD works closely with customers to design market-leading solutions that simplify operations, help users derive more value from their networks and ensure always-on reliability.

For the research methodology and full report, visit Top Trends in CSP IoT and Private 5G Campus Services – June 2023

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