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GSMA: Low Power Wide Area Networks to Lead IoT Connections by 2022


The GSMA today announced that Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) connections are set to exceed 2G, 3G and 4G and become the leading technology for Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity, with 1.4 billion connections by 2022, according to new analysis by Machina Research. These figures underscore how the industry has aligned behind standardised, complementary LPWA technologies such as NB-IoT and LTE-M, accelerating the development of the market. The GSMA’s Mobile IoT Initiative, which promotes adoption of LPWA technologies, is currently backed by 67 global mobile operators, device makers, chipset, module and infrastructure companies worldwide.

“In the space of nine short months, the GSMA’s Mobile IoT Initiative has established market standards for LPWA that will play a fundamental role in the growth, development and adoption of the technology,” said Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer, GSMA. “There are already several mobile operators around the world running Mobile IoT pilots, and this year, we’ll see commercial launches across a range of sectors, providing complete IoT connectivity and delivering service to billions of new devices.”

LPWA networks are an emerging, high-growth area of the IoT, designed to support M2M applications that have low data rates, require long battery lives and operate unattended for long periods of time, often in remote locations. They will be used for a wide variety of applications such as industrial asset tracking, safety monitoring, water and gas metering, smart grids, city parking, vending machines and city lighting.

“It is clear that LPWA technologies will revolutionise the Internet of Things, combining the ability to provide out-of-the-box connectivity with extremely long battery life. These qualities make LPWA technologies a perfect match for many IoT applications. The widespread availability of LPWA will catalyse the whole IoT ecosystem, supporting new use cases, enabling the increased sophistication and reach of many existing use cases, and accelerating adoption overall,” said Jim Morrish, Founder and Chief Research Officer of Machina Research.

Licensed LPWA networks complement and extend conventional wide area networks, allowing operators to optimise their existing high-quality mobile network infrastructure through an upgrade which makes use of 2G and 4G cellular technologies, as well as local area networks such as WiFi, Bluetooth and Zigbee. These licensed standards allow operators to optimise their existing mobile network infrastructure through an upgrade to LTE-M for LTE networks, while NB-IoT can use both 2G and 4G spectrum. They are designed to cover all use cases, ensuring customer choice and helping the IoT market to flourish.

The GSMA Mobile IoT initiative is currently supporting the industry in multiple global pilots, with full commercial solutions expected in market later this year.

Mobile IoT at Mobile World Congress 2017

The GSMA’s Connected Living Programme will host the ‘GSMA Global Mobile IoT Summit’ with leading industry experts on Sunday, 26 February from 13:00 – 17:30. The session will explore how the industry is working together to realise the full potential of Mobile IoT. There will also be a separate session called ‘Mobile IoT (LPWA) – Open for Business’ on Wednesday, 1 March 2017 from 13:30 – 15:30, providing an opportunity to learn about the latest commercial rollouts, launches and pilots. There will also be number of demonstrations of LPWA technology at the GSMA Innovation City located in Hall 4 in Fira Gran Via. For more information or to register, please visit For more information on the GSMA Mobile IoT Initiative go to:

Get Involved at Mobile World Congress 2017

For more information on Mobile World Congress 2017, including how to attend, exhibit or sponsor, visit Follow developments and updates on Mobile World Congress on Twitter @GSMA using #MWC17, on our LinkedIn Mobile World Congress page or on Facebook at For additional information on GSMA social channels, visit

The Mobile World Congress is the cornerstone of the Mobile World Capital, which will be hosted in Barcelona through 2023. The Mobile World Capital encompasses programmes and activities that span the entire year and will benefit not only the citizens of Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain, but also the worldwide mobile industry. For more information on the Mobile World Capital, visit

About the GSMA

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with almost 300 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress, Mobile World Congress Shanghai, Mobile World Congress Americas and the Mobile 360 Series of conferences.

For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at Follow the GSMA on Twitter: @GSMA.

Contact information

For the GSMA
Sophie Waterfield
+44 7779 459923
GSMA Press Office

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