Worldwide 5G FWA will reach 58 million subscriptions in 2026, according to ABI Research. The United States is driving the number of 5G FWA connections with major operators aggressively expanding their FWA business.
5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) can offer fiber-like speed due to the improved spectral efficiency with advanced antenna technologies, making it a competitive alternative to wired broadband solutions.
“MNOs can launch 5G FWA services to boost revenues by using their spare network capacity in the short term. However, in the long term, 5G FWA depends on sufficient network capacity and spectrum and the optimization of network resources,” Fei Liu, 5G & Mobile Network Infrastructure Industry Analyst at ABI Research, said.
An FWA user can consume 40X more network resources than a mobile user. MNOs need to conduct a proper market assessment and detailed plan to understand the required capacity in their targeted markets and how many FWA subscribers they can truly support.
The strategy to offer 5G FWA varies with MNOs targeting different markets. The main strategies include 5G FWA for last-mile connectivity, 5G FWA for business, 5G FWA to connect the unconnected, 5G FWA as a value-added service, and 5G FWA as a backup for fixed broadband.
MNOs considering FWA as a long-term solution should use Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques such as Machine Learning (ML) to generate in-depth analysis on the network quality and user experience, based on traffic growth, service and network Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), to improve network resource utilization.
According to TrendForce research, shipments of 5G FWA devices will reach 7.6 million units in 2022, an annual increase of 111 percent, due to the expansion of 5G coverage and growing market demand for FWA services.
5G FWA device shipments in 2023 are estimated at 13 million units. At present, Nokia, Huawei, Casa Systems, and TCL have launched relevant solutions, using Qualcomm, MediaTek, and UNISOC made chips. Taiwanese players include Arcadyan, Zyxel, Sercomm, Wistron NeWeb, Askey, and Alpha Networks.
5G FWA meets the demand for broadband data access primarily due to key technology advancements such as the new 5G NR (New Radio) interface, Network Slicing, Massive MIMO, and Quality of Service (QoS) guarantees. 5G FWA converts 5G signals into Wi-Fi signals through base station construction and paired FWA devices as user Internet connections.
A new study by Juniper Research said total operator-billed revenue generated from 5G FWA services will rise from $515 million in 2022 to $2.5 billion next year.
Mobile operators’ 5G FWA revenue will reach $24 billion globally by 2027 and consumer market will be generating 96 percent of 5G FWA revenue.