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Global roaming IoT to generate 1,100 petabytes by 2027

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Data generated by roaming IoT connections will increase from 86 petabytes in 2022 to 1,100 petabytes by 2027, according to a new Juniper Research study.

The increase is equal to streaming 165 million hours of 4K video from platforms such as Netflix and amounts to 1,140% growth. This will be driven by the end of 3G networks requiring the adoption of low-power mobile networks.

In addition, the study found that low-power wide-area networks (WANs) are a low-cost alternative to mobile networks, such as 4G and 5G, further driving the growth of IoT roaming connections through low-power, high-penetration coverage.

Roaming IoT connections use wireless services outside of their registered operator’s network, accessing connectivity from other mobile providers.

At the same time, the report found that roaming IoT connections from the US specifically will generate 277 petabytes of data by 2027. This will account for 26% of the aforementioned 1,100 petabyte global total.

Both AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon will shut down their 3G networks in 2022, at which point it is expected that roaming IoT connections will be redistributed to low-power wide-area 4G or 5G networks depending on the use case.

“US operators must adopt the billing & charging Evolution protocol to accurately identify IoT traffic based on network technologies. Failure to do so will risk revenue leakage, if lucrative 5G roaming IoT traffic is misidentified as lower-value connectivity,” said Scarlett Woodford, research author at Juniper Research.

According to findings, only 2% of total IoT roaming connections will rely on 5G networks by 2027, due to the low-power consumption and infrequent data transmission exhibited by the majority of devices.

Additionally, only use cases that reply on low-latency and high-speed data downloads, such as autonomous vehicles and connected factories, will justify enterprise investment in 5G connectivity.

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