The Future of Cellular IoT

Bill Kramer, VP Advanced Technology

Not that long ago, discussions were centered on what is happening now in technology. But that has changed – dramatically. With the speed of disruptive technology being accelerated in almost every industry, we now talk about technology in terms of “what’s next?”

With that in mind, let us take a moment to explore two important areas that will affect the future of cellular IoT.

The Transition to LTE

We recently discussed the reasons why organizations on 2G and 3G networks should strongly consider transitioning to LTE options such as Cat-M or NB IoT sooner rather than later. The sunsetting of these legacy networks in the coming years will force businesses to make the switch, which means they should consider a number of factors to determine which category of LTE is best for their solutions. Some factors include:

  • Bandwidth – The richness of your application will dramatically impact your LTE choice. For example, the needs of an organization relying on continuous data transfer 24/7 is very different than the needs of a business that only requires information in sporadic bursts.
  • Mobility – If tracking a moving target, such as a fleet of trucks, your LTE decision will require the ability to maintain connectivity as the connection gets handed off from tower to tower, whereas a kiosk or agriculture sensors will only need to connect with one tower continuously.
  • Availability – Coverage is not equal in each area. What one carrier provides here, may not be available there. Additionally, not all carriers are offering all LTE technologies quite yet, so this plays a critical role in the selection and timing of your transition.


Right now, 5G is a hot topic, but it is not clear – yet – how it will differ from LTE and what uses it will afford. To be sure, the form of 5G will be figured out in time, but there are many factors that have to be determined before any tangible offering can be considered, such as:

  • Carrier use – The carriers have yet to sort through how they are going to utilize 5G – that is really the first step. Part of that will be determined as industry bodies define standards – and the carriers are participating in these conversations now. Once this is final (or near final) the carriers will have to decide how they want to deploy 5G and which use cases they will support for it - all of which will vary from carrier to carrier.
  • Infrastructure – While the carriers are determining how they will deploy 5G, the infrastructure equipment providers are figuring out how to deliver these standards via their own technologies.
  • Devices – As steps 1 and 2 are completed, device manufacturers will determine their play in the 5G landscape and build the appropriate devices to facilitate implementation.
  • Market innovation – It is at this point when the first three areas take shape that we will start to see the innovation – or perhaps, revolution – of 5G technology being leveraged by enterprise customers.

Simply put, the transition to LTE, enabled by new low power LTE networks, is an area that has already become a reality for many IoT companies and will become a reality for many more in the near future. On the contrary, there are many lingering questions surrounding 5G that must be answered before it can transition from hype to reality. Today though, both are grounds for exciting chatter. 

Want to learn more about making the jump to LTE? KORE can help.

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