Telematics could be key for US telcos – just don’t get distracted

ABI Research has pointed to statistics claiming 68.5% of cellular connected M2M devices are telematics or broader transport applications, but telcos need to laser focus to reap the rewards of this window.

The connected car is without a doubt an opportunity for the telcos, but ABI has warned the fortunes might be missed if they get distracted by other technologies. This is a genuine opportunity for the telcos, though ABI has cited new LPWA technologies that are being positioned as a competitor to cellular, increased interest in private network opportunities, and the on-going debate on the merits of licensed and unlicensed spectrum, as distractions which could erode margins.

“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,” said Kevin McDermott, Principal Analyst at ABI.

At the end of 2016 there were 82.65 million cellular connected M2M devices, 68.5% of which were related to telematics and other transportation applications. The ABI team is also predicting cellular M2M market will grow beyond 300 million connections by 2022 in the US alone. While the proportion of connections for connected vehicles will surely erode, it will still be prominent.

The risk here is that of distraction. Should the executives start seeing the dollar signs everywhere, there is a danger of overreach. Not in the sense of being too ambitious, but spreading operations and research too thin. The greediness of telcos, who have seen profits eroded steadily over the last couple of years, could see them becoming average at everything and exceptional at nothing. Being average at everything is opening the door to disruption, tempting the re-emergence of the downward spiral the telcos have been in for the last decade.

  • Connected & Autonomous Vehicles

  • Connected Cars & Autonomous Vehicles Europe

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