Global cellular IoT module shipments grew by 70% YoY in the third quarter, according to Counterpoint Technology Market Research.
Global cellular IoT module shipments grew by 70% year-on-year (YoY) in the third quarter (Q3 2021), according to the latest research from Counterpoint Technology Market Research’s Global Cellular IoT Module, Chipset and Application Tracker. In terms of overall revenue, the market crossed the $1.5-billion mark during the quarter. China continued to dominate in terms of volume, followed by North America and Europe. 5G was the fastest growing technology (+700% YoY) due to a lower base.
“Chinese module players performed well during this quarter while some international players struggled. Quectel, Fibocom and China Mobile were the top three cellular IoT module players in China in terms of shipments. For the rest of the world, Quectel, Telit and Thales were the top three cellular IoT module players,” says Soumen Mandal, Research Analyst.
Quectel’s cellular IoT module shipments grew nearly 80% YoY in Q3 2021. NB-IoT and 4G Cat 1 modules were major drivers for this immense growth. In this quarter, Quectel won some bids for 5G, including for 5G C-V2X with Great Wall Motor, high-speed rail applications with China Mobile, industrial applications with China’s industry and information technology ministry, 5G module with China Mobile and a customized project with China Unicom. Mandal expects 5G module shipments to gain traction from early next year.
Fibocom maintained its second position in the global cellular IoT module market. The strong demand for NB-IoT modules helped Fibocom’s module shipments grow 84% YoY. Fibocom is also focussing more on 4G Cat 1 and Cat 1 bis modules.
“We expect to witness more competition in Cat 1 bis space next year. China Mobile entered the top three module player rankings during this quarter. Its total shipments tripled annually in Q3 2021. The Chinese market is witnessing a lot of traction for NB-IoT and 4G Cat 1 modules as 2G or 3G modules are being replaced in most cases,” says Mandal. “All the top five module players in Q3 2021 were from China. MeiG Smart is another Chinese player witnessing continuous growth. Automotive-grade NAD IoT module players Rolling Wireless and LG raced into the top 10 module players rankings as demand for connected cars continued to rise.”
Global Cellular IoT Module Shipment Share by Module Vendor, Q3 2021
Smart meter, POS and retail were the top three fastest-growing applications. The ongoing chip shortage had a negative impact on the automotive segment. Chipset dynamics are also changing depending on applications and technologies.
Global Cellular IoT Chipset Shipment Share by Chipset Vendor, Q3 2021
“Qualcomm is leading in the global cellular IoT chipset market with more than one-third share. However, the company lost nearly 4% market share compared to the previous quarter. Still, Qualcomm is the leading chipset provider across 4G Cat 4, 4G Cat Others, 5G, LPWA Dual Mode, LTE-M and 3G technologies,” says Neil Shah, Vice President of Research. “UNISOC, the second-largest cellular IoT chipset player, surpassed Qualcomm to lead in the 4G Cat 1 market. Cat 1 bis has been gaining traction, boosting UNISOC’s market share. UNISOC was leading across the 4G Cat 1, NB-IoT and 2G technologies in Q3 2021, thanks to volume growth in China and declining share of Huawei HiSilicon, which though still remained the third-largest chipset supplier.”
The overall cellular IoT module ASP decreased by 3% sequentially thanks to the shift towards the cheaper NB-IoT and 4G Cat-1 modules during this quarter. However, 4G Cat 4+ and 5G IoT modules’ ASP rose due to tight supplies. This had minimal impact on total shipments, but if the supply situation doesn’t improve, it could slow down 5G adoption.