New Transforma Insights study ranks the leading global IoT Communications Service Providers

Latest report from leading IoT industry analysts, Transforma Insights, highlights the need for Communications Service Providers that are serious about addressing the Internet of Things to pivot to being Hyperscale IoT Connectivity Providers. Vodafone ranks as the top global IoT CSP.

Transforma Insights today published its ‘Communications Service Provider IoT Peer Benchmarking Report 2021‘ which analyses the relative strengths of 12 leading providers of global IoT connectivity in areas such as networks, platforms, vertical solutions, and commercial strategy.

The market for cellular IoT connectivity has become increasingly complex and competitive recently. In these circumstances, Communications Service Providers (CSPs) have to take a long hard look at their strategies and approaches to the market. There are effectively two options: find additional revenue streams or put in place systems and processes to cope with the pressures.

Pivot to be a Hyperscale IoT Connectivity Provider

This report focuses on the core role of the CSP, i.e. the provision of connectivity. To succeed in that endeavour requires a CSP to evolve in order to become a ‘Hyperscale IoT Connectivity Provider.’

The assessment focuses on whether the CSP has put in place (or is in the process of putting in place) the necessary capabilities to deliver scalable connectivity to support at least ten times the number of devices at low cost points. The report rates each CSP based on their aptitude as Hyperscale IoT Connectivity Providers, across seven key areas (in declining order of importance) as indicated the chart below.


Based on the assessment against those seven criteria, the top scorer in terms of having the capabilities necessary to be a Hyperscale IoT Connectivity Provider is Vodafone, followed by Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica, Telenor, KORE and Telia.

The opportunity associated with IoT for CSPs is not limited to the provision of connectivity. Many differentiate in other significant ways. Offering vertical solutions is one option. Many CSPs have very strong, in some cases market-leading, solutions in particular vertical markets. However, for most vertical markets the barriers to entry are high and simply pursuing a ‘me too’ approach to launching vertical solutions in every appealing segment is doomed to failure. Again, Vodafone scores highest for the strength of its vertical solution portfolio, followed by Verizon, Telefónica and Orange.

There are further opportunities in IoT associated with horizontal advisory, consulting and systems integration services. The challenge with this part of the market is that it is hard to scale. Nevertheless, it is a valuable part of the market. Those CSPs with strong consulting and systems integration capabilities include Deutsche Telekom and Orange.

The chart below summarises the Transforma Insights ranking. On the vertical axis is Hyperscale IoT Connectivity capabilities. The horizontal axis provides an aggregate score for delivering client-specific solutions, across both vertical solutions and horizontal advisory/consulting/systems integration.


It should be noted that even the highest scoring CSP still has some way to go to meet the requirements of what we consider to be an optimum Hyperscale IoT Connectivity Provider, as highlighted by author Matt Hatton:

“CSPs must continue to evolve towards the goal of being a Hyperscale IoT Connectivity Provider, supporting the necessary suite of scalable technologies and capabilities necessary to profitably address the growing cellular IoT market opportunity.”