Telenor looks closer to home for IoT business

Industry News

Telenor is bringing together its domestic and international Internet of Things (IoT) operations under a single brand, the aptly named Telenor IoT.

Telenor IoT will encompass both the telco’s Nordic IoT portfolio and its global Telenor Connexion portfolio.

The Norwegian operator said that as well as unifying its IoT ops under a single umbrella, it is introducing a new operating model that will synchronise product development and improve tech support amongst other things, and will bring together its IoT workforce as a single 200-strong team.

“The new operating model reinforces our competitive edge and makes our product portfolio easier to buy for any customer searching for world class IoT operation and platform capabilities,” said Mats Lundquist, CEO of Telenor Connexion and manager of Telenor IoT, in a canned statement. “We are also getting scale benefits on new technology investments,” he said.

That all seems simple enough. But, as one industry expert points out, the restructure tells us something about the current dynamics of the global IoT market.

Telenor will continue to target two markets: the Nordics, where it is a major incumbent, and the international space where it operates more like an MVNO, explains Matt Hatton, founding partner of Transforma Insights. “I can’t see that changing dramatically,” he said.

“But I think this new arrangement reflects a rebalancing, demonstrating [that] domestic is becoming more important and the global business is becoming a bit tougher,” he said, noting that in the global market there is more competition, margins are eroding and the old ways of delivering connectivity are changing.

“Roaming is out and eSIM localisation is in, meaning more business will be local,” Hatton said.

Indeed. Last year Strategy Analytics forecast that sales of eSIMs for IoT applications will grow to 326 million globally by 2025, more than double the 2020 figure, driven by rapid IoT adoption and clear standardisation.

Telenor claims to power 17 million connected devices in 190 countries, declaring itself to be in the top 10 IoT operators globally and the top three in Europe. However, it did not specify how many of these devices are located in or around its home turf.

Its newly christened Telenor IoT offer will be supplied by staff in 18 countries in Africa, the Americas, the Asia-Pacific and Europe.

“The launch of Telenor IoT and unifying our IoT capabilities and competencies will make us better positioned to accelerate the digital future that will benefit customers, businesses, and society,” said Jukka Leinonen, Nordic EVP and Chairman of the Telenor Connexion Board. “The steps we are taking now is the culmination of several months of intense collaboration between colleagues in Telenor’s Nordic telco businesses, Telenor Connexion, and Telenor’s Nordic Hub.”

It will be interesting to see where the telco does most of its IoT business going forward.

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