Over a quarter of senior telco executives who participated in European Communications’ latest quarterly survey believe the potential growth of M2M being ascribed to operators is overstated.
The number of connected devices on the market is expected to grow to anywhere between 20 and 50 billion depending on whose estimates you believe.
Predictions around the revenues that operators can expect to receive are equally optimistic and varied.
However, 27 percent of respondents believe the potential growth that operators can expect from M2M is overstated.
A further nine percent said the potential growth was understated although the majority, 64 percent, said they thought growth projections were about right.
European Communications polled the views of over 160 people from across the telecoms ecosystem between July and August 2012.
Respondents see developing partnerships rather than monetizing services and making M2M profitable as the greatest challenge operators must overcome.
This was the case for 24 percent of all respondents and 17 percent of operator respondents. A surprising number also see convincing end users of the benefits of adopting M2M as a key challenge.
A huge majority, 94 percent, agrees that operators will need to provide more than basic connectivity to succeed in M2M.
In its stead, the biggest growth will be in providing managed/tiered services around specific market segments.
The number of operators providing such a service will grow from 27 percent today to 56 percent in five years time.
When it comes which specific verticals operators expect to be operating in in five years time, respondents voted transport/fleet, security/surveillance and energy as the top three sectors. This roughly mirrors the verticals they are targeting currently.
From a geographical point of view, operators expect North America and Asia-Pac to provide then with the most amount of M2M business in five years time.
Back in the present, 39 percent of respondents said their M2M business/activities were not profitable currently. Of those, 41 percent expected to turn a profit in a three to five year timeframe. Almost a quarter, 23 percent, said they expected to become profitable within 12 months. Further, nearly half, 44 percent, of operators expect M2M to contribute between one and five percent of their entire bottom line in five years time.
Ultimately, operators believe M2M is just one of a number of future growth opportunities. This is the case with 72 percent of operators, although 24 percent believe M2M is the biggest/most important growth opportunity.
Click on the graphs below for a graphical illustration of the results.