In our podcast on 31st March we talked about Vodafone's partnership with British Gas. Smart meters with a mobile GPRS data connection are expected to help nearly a million UK households manage their gas supplies by the end of 2012.
However, although these meters won't need fast mobile data, ABI Research anticipates a dramatic growth in machine-to-machine connections using 4G services. Its latest report says the number of 4G M2M modules shipped worldwide will jump from around 40,000 this year to 12.6 million in 2015.
These 4G connections – using either WiMAX or LTE technology – are likely to be needed by telematics applications (e.g. in-car multimedia), fixed wireless terminals (distributing a broadband connection to a number of users) and industrial PDAs. ABI says they may even be utilised in smart metering systems; not within homes but as part of the distribution infrastructure used by utility companies.