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The Future of IoT for CSPs

Aug 22, 2023

The internet of things (IoT) has taken the business world by storm and is reshaping the way enterprises work. The evidence is clear, whether you’re a retailer using smart shelves for efficient inventory management or a healthcare provider employing it for remote patient care, IoT is assisting businesses in becoming more productive.

Communication service providers (CSPs) are recognizing the growing demand for IoT and capitalizing on this opportunity. Service providers are offering tailored solutions for enterprises that seamlessly integrate IoT into their core operations. According to a recent survey we commissioned among 220 CSPs around the world, and which is now available in the report “Top Trends in CSP IoT and Private 5G Campus Services”, CSPs are targeting many different verticals, including Healthcare, Manufacturing, Retail, Public Utilities, and Smart Cities. However, the most prominent sectors for IoT services are healthcare (55%), industry and manufacturing (50%), and retail (43%).

Meeting the Demands of a Growing Market

In fact, 95% of service providers include IoT as part of their offering. According to market research firm Analysis Mason, more than half of the additional revenue operators will generate between 2022 and 2027 will stem from enterprise public mobile networking services for IoT connectivity! In monetary terms IoT connectivity services for enterprises will experience an incredible revenue growth of $4.3B during that five-year period, representing a CAGR of 9.6%. 

Operators’ public network mobile services revenue from enterprises (250+ employees), worldwide, 2022–2027

Operators’ public network mobile services revenue from enterprises (250+ employees), worldwide, 2022–2027. Source: Analysis Mason, July 2023

Diversifying CSP IoT Offerings

So far, CSPs’ IoT service offerings have focused on provisioning basic data plans for IoT device connectivity, using SIM cards and narrow-band IoT (NB-IoT) over cellular networks. 

However, as CSPs are clearly prioritizing IoT services as a growth engine, they recognize the need to add more value to their offering and position themselves as key players across the IoT value chain. CSP are therefore looking at offering services such as:

  • Cloud connectivity
  • IoT application hosting
  • IoT Security-as-a-Service
  • IoT integration services within enterprise campuses

When inquiring about their IoT service offerings or imminent plans, our survey shows that, while 43% do provide data plans, 70% prioritize IoT cloud connectivity for seamless and secure linkage of smart devices to IoT applications hosted on public clouds. Furthermore, 57% are keen on IoT integration services, thus addressing the need of many of their customers, primarily small-medium businesses (SMBs) and small offices-home offices (SOHOs), who lack the expertise and manpower to handle such projects themselves and are therefore looking for turnkey solutions. 

This presents an opportunity for CSPs to provide tailored solutions for their customers in a wide range of applications, from optimizing manufacturing processes to powering smart city initiatives. Comprehensive end-to-end solutions would typically include everything from the smart sensors, through the IoT gateway and network connectivity, to the backend servers and cloud-based dashboards:


Facilitate comprehensive end-to-end solutions

End-to-end IoT Solutions


Private 5G

Private 5G has become an attractive alternative/add-on to Wi-Fi among enterprises. This technology offers organizations dedicated and localized network coverage with improved performance, ultra-low latency, and high reliability. Private 5G networks allow businesses more control over their network infrastructure. This means ensuring optimized connectivity for critical applications and devices. It enhances data security by enabling closed, isolated networks, reducing the risk of external cyber threats. 


Given its growing popularity, it’s only natural that Private 5G is being offered by CSPs, especially since it offers an ideal fit with IoT for network transformation. 

Private 5G and IoT Driving Industrial Digitization

IoT and Private 5G play pivotal roles in propelling industrial digitization forward. 5G and IoT allow CSPs to offer customized network slices for the customer's needs. For example, the speed data transfers (latency), how much data can be sent (throughput), and network coverage. For instance, in the case of a smart vehicle, ensuring latency, throughput, and connection security becomes essential.

An overwhelming 94% of CSPs have intentions to introduce a private 5G service in 2023 and 50% say that their private 5G offering includes IoT managed services bundled with their campus network. This stands to reason as 5G enables scalable outdoor coverage, which has become a must in IoT installations. It also enables low-latency connectivity of automated guided vehicle/mobile robots and maintains service continuity during handovers. 5G is becoming the de-facto converged OT/IT campus network, aggregating all campus endpoints, including IoT devices.

52% of CSPs say they will improve their tools to ensure limited delay network dependability and bounded latency. Bounded latency refers to the maximum acceptable delay or time interval within which a specific action or process must occur. It ensures the action happens within a predefined timeframe, providing predictability and reliability. This is essential for the medical, virtual, and augmented reality industries.

Another 5G-related method to ensure service quality – Network Slicing – was chosen by 58% of CSPs, who intend to segment their network resources and create dedicated slices optimized for specific IoT use cases. Hence, offering more tailored and efficient connectivity solutions to their customers. 

The Role of IoT Gateways

IoT and Private 5G go hand-in-hand. Source: RAD Survey

The Role of IoT Gateways

An overwhelming 97% of CSPs include IoT gateways in their private 4G/5G ecosystem, and an additional 2% are planning to do so, to bridge a range of interfaces and aggregate IoT devices to the WAN or private network. 49% of this cohort are doing so to enable the integration of existing brownfield sensors to their 4G/5G network. The importance of connecting brownfield sensors is especially apparent in the Oil & Gas (57%) and Energy (53%) sectors. Oil & Gas and Energy campuses were amongst the first to implement IoT, and so it is natural that they will have a substantial existing installed base of smart devices and sensors. It’s therefore no surprise that they top the list, as they need these brownfield devices to be easily integrated into the transforming OT networks.

The Role of IoT Gateways

IoT gateways are critical for private 4G/5G ecosystem. Source: RAD Survey

Aside from cost, the top features of IoT gateways that service providers are looking for 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.

Final Thoughts

The convergence of IoT and 5G technology is reshaping the landscape of next generation enterprise networks, making 5G the standard network for operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) within campus environments. The future of IoT for CSPs promises innovation, comprehensive solutions, and new revenue streams, unlocking endless possibilities for businesses in our interconnected world.

For the full report on the survey findings, click here



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