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The structure of the global cellular IoT module market has changed, with Quectel/Guanghetong/China Mobile/Sunsea/MAG taking the top 5 in the world!


From the second quarter to the third quarter, there have been some obvious changes in the structure of the global cellular IoT module market. The shipments of Chinese manufacturers have grown rapidly. The top 5 manufacturers are all Chinese manufacturers, namely Quectel, Fibonacci, and China Mobile, Sunsea Intelligent, MG Intelligent.

Recently, the market research company Counterpoint released the global cellular IoT module market tracking data for the third quarter of 2021.

Data show that in the third quarter, global cellular IoT module shipments increased by 70% year-on-year, and overall revenue exceeded US$1.5 billion. Compared with the 53% year-on-year growth rate in the second quarter, shipments grew faster in the third quarter, setting a new high again.

What’s more worth mentioning is that Chinese manufacturers continue to perform well.Chinese manufacturers occupy the top five positions in global shipments

The cellular IoT module market is a very competitive field, and there will be new changes every quarter.

From the second quarter to the third quarter, there have been some obvious changes in the structure of the global cellular IoT module market. The shipments of Chinese manufacturers have grown rapidly. The top 5 manufacturers are all Chinese manufacturers, namely Quectel, Fibonacci, and China Mobile, Sunsea Intelligent, MG Intelligent. In addition, Youfang Technology has also entered the world’s top 10 ranks, ranking 8th.

Ranking of cellular IoT module shipments in the third quarter (Source: Countetpoint)

In terms of specific share, Quectel’s position is still very stable, with its shipments accounting for 31.6% of total shipments. In the third quarter of the past, Quectel’s shipments grew by 80% year-on-year. NB-IoT and Cat. 1 module is the main driving force for rapid growth. In addition, Quectel has made many breakthroughs in 5G modules. Fibocom still maintains its No. 2 shipment ranking, with a market share of 9.6%, which also benefits from NB-IoT and Cat. 1, Fibocom’s module shipment growth rate was 84% ​​in this quarter.

China Mobile’s shipment volume entering the top three is a typical change in this quarter. In the third quarter, its shipment volume increased to three times that of the same period last year. Under the background of 2G/3G withdrawal, China Mobile vigorously promoted the low-speed Internet of Things. The action has formed a trend of rapid growth in shipments, with a global market share of 6.2%. The other two Chinese module manufacturers, Sunsea Intelligent and Meige Intelligent, ranked fourth and fifth with 6.1% and 5.4% shares respectively. From the perspective of shipment volume alone, in just over a year, the structure of the global cellular IoT module market has undergone very drastic changes.

The author once analyzed the cellular IoT market in 2020 in an article at the beginning of this year, and found that in terms of shipments, the global cellular IoT module field has formed a “3+3” pattern, that is, three Chinese manufacturers +3 overseas manufacturers account for more than 60% of the market share. Among them, the three Chinese manufacturers are Quectel, Fibocom, and Sunsea. Quectel has always occupied the first place, and the gap in shipments from other manufacturers is relatively large; Fibocom’s shipments surpassed Sunsea in the 3-4 quarters; Three overseas manufacturers mainly come from four European and American manufacturers, Thales, Sierra Wireless, Telit, and U-blox. They are constantly competing with Chinese manufacturers for share. Among them, Thales has maintained a relatively stable position in the top 6 in the world, and the other three However, there are changes every quarter. Sierra Wireless and Telit did not enter the top 6 in 1 quarter, and U-blox did not enter the top 6 in 2 quarters. The structure formed by the joint support is 3 Chinese manufacturers and 3 overseas manufacturers. Sit on the top six seats.

The following is the ranking of cellular IoT module shipments in each quarter of 2020:

Share of cellular IoT module vendors in each quarter of 2020 (Source: Counterpoint, IOT think tank mapping)

However, after just three quarters, the market structure has become a state where five Chinese companies occupy nearly 60% of the market. This reflects the strong demand in the Chinese market on the one hand, and on the other hand, it also reflects the improvement of Chinese companies’ competitiveness in the global market. .

In terms of applications, the largest applications in the third quarter were metering, POS and retail industries. Among them, the meter industry is dominated by NB-IoT, and the POS industry is dominated by Cat. 1 is the main one. Counterpoint once predicted in a research report that by 2025, global POS shipments are expected to reach 270 million units, with a compound annual growth rate of 19%. Chinese players are leading the global POS market, among the top 10 suppliers. Eight of them are from China.

The cellular IoT chip market is also quietly changing. From the perspective of the cellular IoT chip market, Qualcomm’s position is still solid, ranking first with a market share of 37.2% of shipments. Counterpoint analysts said it was similar to the previous quarter. Although Qualcomm’s market share has dropped by 4%, it is still the core supplier in the fields of 4G Cat 4 and Cat 4+, 5G, LPWA dual-mode, LTE-M and 3G.

At present, Qualcomm has identified the four core businesses of mobile phones, RF front-ends, Internet of Things and automobiles. In its latest financial report, in the latest quarter, Qualcomm’s Internet of Things business revenue was US$1.54 billion, a year-on-year increase of 66%. . In terms of core technology, industrial ecology and global influence, Qualcomm is expected to maintain its dominant position in IoT chips for a long period of time.

According to Counterpoint data, in the second quarter of 2021, Ziguang Zhanrui is the only player among the top five cellular IoT chip manufacturers to have a year-on-year growth rate of more than 100%. In the third quarter, Ziguang Zhanrui continued to grow rapidly, with a market share of 26.8%. Following Qualcomm, it has become the world’s second largest supplier of cellular IoT chips, especially in Cat. 1 The field becomes the leader, Cat. 1 bis is also an important guarantee for Ziguang Zhanrui’s market share increase. In addition, China Unigroup Zhanrui was in a leading position in the NB-IoT field this quarter. Another obvious change is that another Chinese company, Aojie Technology, performed well, with a shipment share of 2.8%, making it the world’s sixth-ranked cellular IoT chip manufacturer. Benefit from Cat. 1 Market demand, Aojie Technology’s advantages in this field can be brought into full play.

Global cellular IoT chip shipment ranking (Source: Counterpoint)

Changes in the structure of different network standards According to the monitoring data of Counterpoint, the total shipment of cellular IoT modules in 2020 will be 265 million pieces, of which 4G and NB-IoT modules are the main ones. 4G LTE modules accounted for half of the cellular IoT module shipments, while NB-IoT still maintained steady growth, basically contributing 1/3 of the shipment market share.

From the comparison of the data for the whole year of 2020 and the third quarter of 2021, the market share of NB-IoT remains stable, occupying more than one-third of the market. The year-on-year growth rate of 5G modules reached 800% in the second quarter, and this quarter continued to grow at a rapid rate of 700%. Of course, the base of 5G modules is small, and it is relatively easy to achieve multiple growth. However, in the next few years, the network standard structure of cellular IoT module shipments will also continue to change, and 5G will continue to grow rapidly.

The “Fourteenth Five-Year Plan” for the Information and Communication Industry recently issued by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology clearly stated: Promote the migration of the existing 2G/3G Internet of Things business to the NB-IoT/4G/5G network, and build a comprehensive ecosystem for the coordinated development of low, medium and high speed mobile Internet of Things , And at the same time clarified that the number of mobile Internet of Things connections target is 2 billion. According to the latest data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, as of the end of October, the number of cellular IoT nodes developed by the three basic telecommunications companies was 1.385 billion, which means that the net increase in the number of cellular IoT connections in China in the next four years will exceed 600 million.

However, the structure of this net increase of 600 million connections and the stock will be completely different. The 600 million connections will be a multi-layered structure including NB-IoT/4G/5G. In the past year, the maturity of 5G modules has continued to increase, and the cost has dropped to 500 yuan. The industry is also making continuous efforts to promote module innovation and further reduction of costs. Recently, the 5G application industry phalanx released the “5G Industry Module Classification White Paper”, which focuses on the high production costs, market fragmentation, insufficient product adaptability, and difficulties in ecological construction faced by 5G industry modules, and through in-depth analysis 5G module development status, development pain points and development trends, fully explore the 5G needs of ten key vertical industries, provide data reference for the formulation of module classification schemes, and promote the effective balance of cost and scale through module classification.

In addition, relevant leading companies are also promoting module innovation, such as China Mobile’s industry’s largest collection test of 5G general-purpose modules, and China Unicom’s launch of the industry’s first streamlined module under 500 yuan. It is expected that the share of 5G modules in cellular IoT modules will continue to rise in the future.

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