5G Fixed Wireless Access (5G FWA) subscriptions will reach 72 million by 2027, representing 35 percent of the total FWA market in 2027, ABI Research forecasts.
Though LTE FWA services have already been widely deployed worldwide, they often cannot provide the speed needed to compete with wired broadband connections. 5G FWA is set to offer data rates rivaling the range of fiber, making it a competitive alternative to wired broadband solutions.
“FWA is one of the use cases that utilize 5G Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (mMIMO) networks to their full extent, with a typical monthly utilization that could be as high as 1TB per subscriber. Many MNOs that launched 5G are expected to offer FWA services, driving 5G FWA market growth,” Fei Liu, 5G and Mobile Network Infrastructure Industry Analyst at ABI Research, said.
Both developed and emerging markets benefit from 5G FWA. North America, Western Europe, and Asia Pacific are driving 5G FWA deployments. In North America and Western Europe, MNOs are using 5G FWA to compete with DSL broadband services.
T-Mobile US sees an opportunity with 5G FWA because two-thirds of its residential customers living in urban and suburban areas are dissatisfied cable customers, making up a significant amount of its 5G FWA customers.
EE UK launched 5G FWA in 2019 and plans to cover 90 percent of the UK with 5G by 2028. Fastweb in Italy launched 5G FWA in 2020 and plans to cover 12.5 million homes and businesses by 2025. There is growing interest in the Asia Pacific as Reliance Jio eyes 100 million homes through 5G FWA.
MNOs need to apply Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques such as Machine Learning (ML) to evaluate their network resource, network capacity, and spectrum to ensure a steady 5G FWA growth. When the 5G FWA service starts to challenge their network capacity, these MNOs may have to deploy millimeter wave (mmWave) to guarantee the quality of their FWA services and overall network capacity.