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2018 has turned out to be a better year for some unlicensed spectrum IoT technologies than might have been predicted. In particular, LoRaWAN is gaining traction, based on Ovum's recent LPWAN tracker update.


  • As of October 2018, Ovum counted 273 unlicensed spectrum LPWAN announcements and deployments (public networks only) in its IoT & LPWA Network Deployment Tracker: 3Q18 update, accounting for 60% of the total count of 416 announced active LPWAN networks and planned networks worldwide.
  • LoRaWAN leads in terms of announcements, followed by NB-IoT. Sigfox is still not present in some key markets, while Ingenu/RPA live deployments significantly lag announcements.
  • Drivers for unlicensed spectrum technologies include early-mover status, ease and speed of installation, and cost advantages over NB-IoT and LTE-M. Longer term, these advantages are likely to diminish, as NB-IoT and LTE-M gain scale. But in the 18–24-month timeframe, Ovum expects unlicensed spectrum LPWAN to continue to dominate, at least outside of China.

Features and Benefits

  • Highlights key trends from Ovum's IoT & LPWA Network Deployment Tracker: 3Q18.
  • Discusses specific KPIs for both licensed and unlicensed spectrum LPWAN deployments, comparing technologies.

Key questions answered

  • How many public LPWAN networks have been deployed globally?
  • Which technologies dominate, and what does this indicate about market trends?

Table of contents

Ovum view

  • Summary
  • Good and bad in the LPWAN market
  • 3GPP technologies: moving more slowly than expected
  • Unlicensed spectrum LPWAN: LoRaWAN gains, others wobble


  • Further reading
  • Author

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