Mergers & acquisitions

CTIA 2011: M2M Picks Up Momentum

ORLANDO, Fla. -- International CTIA WIRELESS 2011 -- Tiny micro machines may have gotten lost in the noise at the Convention Center this week, but they are a big topic nonetheless. Wireless operators are racking up partners to embed machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity in a range of devices.

During his keynote address, Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) CEO Dan Hesse cited Analysys Mason research projecting that there will be 2.1 billion M2M devices by 2020, up from 62 million last year. The carrier announced 14 new M2M partners at CTIA spanning five areas: connected transportation, fixed and portable solutions, smart grid and utilities, health care and education. (See Sprint Touts M2M Momentum.)

M2M is the fastest-growing sector of the entire telecom industry right now, according to Wayne Ward, vice president of Sprint's Emerging Solutions group.

"The M2M space defines and is the wireless business going forward, because of all the flexibility and simplicity and connectivity options available in wireless that you can't get in the wired space," Ward said in an interview B.C. (Before Consolidation).

Those words may take on new meaning now that AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and T-Mobile US Inc. could become one. At CTIA, Verizon Wireless signed on with M2M app development specialist Axeda Corp. Before Sunday's AT&T/T-Mobile news, Axeda was touting that it had partnerships with three out of the four major wireless operators -- the "carrier trifecta," as the company called it. After the acquisition news, a spokesman followed up to claim its market domination. (See Axeda Bags Verizon for M2M Deal.)

"A [Yankee Group Research Inc. ] analyst shared that Axeda's partnerships with AT&T, Verizon and Sprint represented between 85 to 90 percent of the cellular M2M market in the U.S.," the spokesman wrote in an email to LR Mobile. "Now, it’s much closer to 100 percent." Indeed, M2M is another area that a combined AT&T and T-Mobile could dominate. Both had their own announcements at CTIA too, including five more M2M partners for AT&T and new telehealth partners and a new SIM for multi-mode international M2M for T-Mobile.

For more
Check out the following stories for updates on recent M2M growth.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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