Preliminary data from Berg Insight show that the worldwide number of mobile network connections used for wireless M2M (machine-to-machine) communication reached 81.4 million at the end of 2010, up 46 percent year-on-year.
According to Tobias Ryberg the strong market performance was the result of a stronger focus on M2M applications in the mobile communications industry and the rise of wirelessly enabled consumer products. The US and Japan recorded growth rates of 52 percent and 60 percent respectively, mainly driven by connected devices such as e-book readers and digital photo frames.
Among the world regions, Europe maintained its number one position as the number of M2M subscribers increased 43 percent to 29.5 million. North America was up 51 percent to 23.6 million, followed by Asia-Pacific, growing by 53 percent to 19.6 million.
According to Berg Insight’s M2M subscriber data estimates, AT&T became the world’s largest provider of wireless M2M connectivity services last year, reporting 9.3 million subscribers in Q4-2010. The US operator added 4.7 million machines and consumer devices with embedded connectivity during 2010, almost doubling its subscriber base.
Meanwhile the previous market leader Verizon Wireless was demoted to second place in the US and worldwide reporting 8.1 million M2M subscribers at end of 2010, despite adding 1.2 million connections over the year.
Berg Insight estimates that Vodafone, which does not currently disclose its number of M2M subscribers, ranked third having in the range of 7–8 million connections. China Mobile was estimated to be in the fourth place with around 6 million connections, followed by T-Mobile at approximately 5 million. Telefónica, Telenor, Orange, Sprint and America Móvil were other top ten players with 2–4 million connections each.