Sisvel Cellular IoT patent pool gaining broad industry buy-in  

March 21, 2024

At more than 30 members and growing, the programme highlights emerging consensus around market-driven solutions to the challenges of IoT licensing 

By Sven Torringer, Cellular IoT programme manager 

We hear a lot about the complexities and challenges of patent licensing in the IoT era, and there’s a lot of truth to that narrative. But it’s also important to note that efficient, industry-driven solutions are starting to emerge. The continuous growth of the Sisvel Cellular IoT patent pool over the last year shows that patent owners from across the cellular ecosystem are coalescing around a model for NB-IoT and LTE-M patent licensing which aims to accelerate the wider adoption of these technologies.. 

With more than 30 members, the Cellular IoT pool is one of the largest programmes in Sisvel’s 42-year history in terms of the number of participating patent owners. The offering includes a sizeable share of all patents reading on NB-IoT and LTE-M world-wide and counts several of the top technical contributors to the standards among its members. 

What’s particularly notable is the diversity of the patent owner group, in terms of both geography and their position in the cellular ecosystem. 

Global coverage 

The pool represents technology developers from across the major global tech hubs, spanning North America, Europe and Asia. With Asia currently leading the way in terms of cellular IoT deployment, it is fitting that more than half of the patent owners in the pool – 17 in all – come from the Asia-Pacific region.  

China, currently the largest single market for the deployment of NB-IoT solutions, is well represented on the licensor side. Huawei, which joined the Sisvel Cellular IoT pool in September 2023, has been a major contributor to the development of cellular IoT technologies. Its presence alongside China Mobile, Datang Mobile, Shanghai Langbo, TCL and ZTE is a significant endorsement from the companies that power China’s cellular R&D ecosystem. 

Patent Owner list

New patent owners added during 2023 shown in orange 

Diverse sectors represented 

Another noteworthy aspect of the Sisvel Cellular IoT pool is that it represents companies from across the telecoms and IoT value chain. This shows that various parts of the ecosystem are working together to encourage the spread of NB-IoT and LTE-M products. It also means that interests from a wide array of stakeholders are represented within the programme itself. 

The pool contains patents from infrastructure vendors like Ericsson, Huawei and ZTE, as well as product and component manufacturers including ASUSTek, MediaTek, Mitsubishi Electric and Sony. Nine major global network operators have also signed on: China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, KDDI, KPN, NTT DoCoMo, Orange, SK Telecom, Telefónica and Verizon. All these businesses have a strong shared interest in driving the growth of cellular IoT, which will ultimately mean more products on the market, more network subscriptions and more mobile infrastructure. 

Research institutes and businesses focused on licensing activity also have an incentive to support greater penetration for these technologies, and their inclusion in the pool adds significant value for potential licensees. 

Such an alignment of interests is a significant achievement. It is also a testament to the cellular industry’s ability and desire to embrace market-driven solutions to facilitate technology adoption to the benefit of everyone.  

More to come … 

The Sisvel Cellular IoT pool launched in November 2022 with 20 patent owners. That number has since grown by over 50% in just a year. The most recent additions, announced in January 2024, were ZTE, TCL and SK Telecom, all of which are leading telecoms innovators from the Asia-Pacific region.  

As we raise awareness in the market about the pool, we continue to get a positive reception from across the ecosystem, including innovative technology developers and leading implementers. We feel strongly that this programme can serve as a model for industry-driven solutions that boost the market share of these important technologies while rewarding innovators. We’ll have much more to share in the year to come. 

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