23 Per cent Increase in Cellular Device Certifications, Led by IoT Modules: GCF Data

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The proportion of devices integrating almost one 3G band was up during 2018 and it is the most commonly used standard with 87 per cent of devices incorporating 3G

Dominated by Internet of Things (IoT) modules, the number of manufacturers certifying devices and the number of devices themselves witnessed a significant increase in 2018 as compared to a year ago, according to the wireless device certification data of the Global Certification Forum (GCF).

The number of manufacturers certifying devices was increased by 14 per cent in 2018 as compared to the previous year. On the other hand, the number of devices was up by 23 per cent in 2018, the data highlights.

During 2018, the average device certified was operational in 17.3 frequency bands, across mean 2.6 bearer technologies including 3G, GSM and LTE, an increase of 29 per cent compared to 2017, where the mean device supported 13.4 frequency bands.

IoT modules saw fastest growth

Though smartphones represent the biggest class of certified devices and the volume of smartphones certified have risen, smartphones decline as a proportion of all devices, from 55 per cent in 2017 to 49 per cent in 2018. The decline is primarily the result of a significant growth in the IoT modules, which now make up 24 per cent of devices, an increase from 16 per cent in 2017.

LTE growth slows

In 2018, 85 per cent of all devices (548) incorporated LTE. Though the total number of devices were up on 2017 levels (437 devices) proportionally, it is only a little increase on 2017 numbers, where 84 per cent of devices incorporated LTE.

Remarkably, this shows a significant deceleration in growth year-on-year. In 2015, LTE was integrated into 69 per cent of devices, up 7 points in 2016, 8 points in 2017 and just 1 point in 2018.

The proportion of devices integrating almost one 3G band was up during 2018 and it is the most commonly used standard with 87 per cent of devices incorporating 3G. However, in spite of increase, there was no standalone 3G device that suggests the standard is going to continue to drop as operators are replacing 3G capacity with LTE.

On the other hand, the GSM penetration continues its decrease. In 2018, 75 per cent of certified devices incorporated GSM, a decline from 81 per cent in 2017 and 84 per cent in 2016. Only 20 standalone GSM devices were certified in 2018, the data reveals.

5G certifications

For 2019, the devices supporting 5G will expected be a modest number and they will use the sub-mmWave bands, the report forecast.

In 2018, no certifications took place in 5G. However, January 2019 saw GCF’s first 5G NR test system, Keysight Technologies’ 5G Conformance Toolset, it adds.

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