wireless towerThe U.S. cellular M2M market will grow beyond 300 million connections by 2022, according to a M2M connections forecast from ABI Research.

In a press release announcing its latest findings, the research firm said that new competition is emerging as U.S. network operators rush to deploy the latest LTE technologies.

The latest distractions facing the U.S. cellular M2M market, according to the report, include disruptive new LPWA technologies that are being positioned as competitive to cellular, increased interest in private network opportunities and the ongoing debate on the merits of licensed and unlicensed spectrum.

M2M Connections Forecast
“Carrier grade support and service is essential for mission-critical enterprise applications,” said ABI Research principal analyst Kevin McDermott, in a prepared statement. “Some of the biggest opportunities and drivers for cellular operators are in telematics and asset tracking; coverage and low latency are the essential requirements for these fast-growing segments.”

The report adds that connected car-related technologies will be the main driver for the new applications that will benefit U.S. cellular operators — if they don’t get distracted by other technologies.

Of the 82.65 million cellular connected M2M devices at the end of 2016, 68.5 percent were related to telematics and other transportation applications. LTE, which includes LTE Cat-M and Narrow-Band Internet of Things (NB-IoT), is expected to become the largest network standard for the IoT in the United States, offering a range of options for data rates, range and node power efficiency.

Competitive announcements from Comcast about that company supporting long range wireless (LoRa) are a first for a mainstream provider in the U.S. market and a huge distraction for the top four U.S. mobile operators, the report added.

“Comcast is building on the back of its two main network assets: backhaul infrastructure and successful Wi-Fi hotspot deployments. Comcast has reported its hotspot program has surpassed 16 million, and they are actively developing an M2M strategy,” McDermott said in a prepared statement.