Combining the existing and next-generation technologies, 4G penetration and e-SIM for IoT will improve productivity and IoT will be a part of the solution to fight effects of load-shedding.
Let’s explore the five possibilities that await South Africa in IoT Cellular Data Connectivity Trends in 2023:
- IoT as part of the solution to fight effects of load-shedding
Electricity has become one of the basic needs of modern life in South Africa, yet we experienced over 150 days of black outs and load shedding in 2022. These events have a destructive effect on business productivity. We have seen that the reliance on mobile data is increasing both in terms of backup connectivity for employees, but also for IoT and security technology solutions that are used to mitigate some of the effects of these blackouts.
- 2G / 3G Sunsets and NB-IoT
South African telecommunications operators plan to start phasing out their 2G and 3G networks as they allocate resources towards newer technologies. This “network thinning” will start having an effect on legacy connected devices. Solution providers in specifically the IoT space are in a race to manage this transition, with many looking at newer connectivity technologies such as 4G,5G and NB-IoT as alternatives.
- eSIM for IoT
eSIM support for connected devices has to date mostly been restricted to specific consumer devices such as wearables and high-end handsets. It is expected that local mobile operators will start adopting the new GSMA Embedded SIM Specification which now includes Profile Interoperability. This will simplify the process of connecting IoT devices and enhance the flexibility of how mobile network operators and device manufacturers approach eSIM deployments.
- 4G penetration continues
Although many mobile networks are lauding the launch of 5G, in reality it is still a very small footprint and limited to only a few business use-cases, mostly in the consumer space. 4G network coverage, speeds and quality is still growing. True 5G coverage to enable IoT use-cases is still a distant dream.
- Multi-network complexity
One size doesn’t fit all. As enterprises and solution providers roll out more and different IoT solutions, their cellular data connectivity needs change. This means that one type of data SIM from one mobile network provider often doesn’t fit the bill. Often, deploying different SIM types from multiple network providers becomes inevitable. This creates the need for enterprises to use a SIM management layer that integrates with various mobile operators to ensure different SIM types from different mobile networks are controlled and managed effectively.