Sunday, 24 February 2013

Etisalat joins M2M Alliance to tap global M2M market

Direct from Mobile World Congress 2013
The M2M Alliance has added the Middle East's largest operator, Etisalat, to its group of operator members looking to introduce a single worldwide SIM card via a web-based platform for M2M services.

Comprised of seven mobile operators – KPN in the Netherlands, Japan’s NTT DoCoMo, Rogers Communications in Canada, Singapore’s SingTel, Telefonica in Europe and Latin America, Australia’s Telstra, VimpelCom in Russia and now Middle Eastern operating group Etisalat, expanding the member base of the initiative is a welcome move to address some of the technology fragmentation that is to a degree hampering the roll-out of global M2M services.

The alliance will now need to work hard to use its single worldwide SIM to both educate the enterprise market on the potential uses of M2M, as well as to use it as a platform to differentiate from other operators’ M2M offerings.

Because the global M2M market is defined by partnerships and the combination of core competencies an operator can bring to its M2M technology, being able to offer a single SIM for M2M will be attractive to enterprises looking to deploy a single M2M application in different markets worldwide.

According to Informa Telecoms & Media research, at the end of 2Q12, there were 132 million active cellular M2M connections globally and this total is forecast to reach 217 million by end-4Q14, displaying a global CAGR of 23%. That means that approximately 39% of all cellular M2M connections by 4Q14 will have been activated since 2Q12: the cellular M2M market is clearly growing steadily, but not as rapidly as some companies have projected.

It will be interesting to see how an alliance of operators with something approaching global reach – although the key markets of the US and China are still absent from its footprint – will be able to take market share from rivals with its single SIM approach in the growing M2M market. The M2M Alliance now needs to increase its number of operator members to expand its footprint and create a truly global M2M offering it can pitch to enterprises.