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APAC operators to boost region's M2M cellular services

Posted: 08 May 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Bridge M2M Alliance? Asia? M2M? cellular interface? mobile?

Eleven wireless operators in the Asia-Pacific have come together to create a group that will carry out machine-to-machine (M2M) deployments in the region, where cellular M2M connections are expected to grow threefold in the coming years.

Together, the companies will provide connectivity to more than 570 million mobile subscribers in the region. According to IHS Technology, the installed base of wireless M2M connections in APAC is expected to climb 109 million in 2017, making it the second-largest regional M2M market following Europe.

APAC M2M cellular forecast

The installed base of wireless M2M connections in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region will rise to 109 million in 2017, up from 32.6 million in 2012. Source: IHS Technology

The alliance will specifically address market inhibitors unique to the Asia-Pacific region. "There are some fundamental structural challenges to the growth of multinational M2M deployments in Asia-Pacific that don't impact other regions to the same extent," said Bill Morelli, associate director of M2M & Internet of Things at IHS.

"These problems include an overabundance of cellular air standards, major geographical barriers, and highly divergent market dynamics in different countries. The Bridge M2M Alliance could play a key role in overcoming these issues and enabling the region to attain its growth potential," added Morelli.

Asia-Pacific boasts a plethora of cellular air interface standards, including CDMA, WCDMA, TD-SCDMA, and TD-LTE. This diversity, which is not present in other regions to the same degree, makes the value proposition of a multinational deployment. It is either to enable one device to travel among several countries or to enable on stock-keeping unit (SKU) of a device to be shipped to multiple countries, harder to attain.

Also, compared to regions, Asia-Pacific has more countries separated by large bodies of water, which reduces opportunities for connected devices to travel from country to country. Another is that major country-level M2M markets in Asia-Pacific are developing along more individual lineswhere for example, South Korea is relatively more focused on connected devices and smart home applications, while the Japanese M2M market is diverse, ranging from smart-vending machines to connected cars.

Despite these significant structural barriers, IHS believes there is little doubt that rapid growth will occur in multinational M2M deployments in APAC. To the extent that such deployments occur, the Bridge M2M Alliance is beneficial. Key benefits are a harmonisation in commercial termssuch as service-level agreements (SLAs) and customer support, technical interoperability between different operators' platforms and the joint development of a supporting ecosystem of technology vendors.

The founding operators of Bridge M2M Alliance include Airtel of India, AIS of Thailand, CSL of Hong Kong, Globe of the Philippines, Maxis of Malaysia, MobiFone of Vietnam, Optus of Australia, SingTel of Singapore, SK Telecom of South Korea, Taiwan Mobile of Taiwan and Telkomsel of Indonesia. Together, these companies provide connectivity to more than 570 million mobile subscribers in the Asia-Pacific region.

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