The worldwide fixed wireless access (FWA) market is expanding quickly to fulfill the need for high-speed broadband connectivity, with 5G accounting for 40% of the total FWA market.
ABI Research forecasts that in 2026, the overall FWA market will exceed 180 million subscriptions and generate $70 billion in revenue. 5G FWA, a powerful platform providing fiber-like broadband service, will be accelerating the FWA market.
Since 5G deployments continue to accelerate, operators are taking advantage of the 5G technology to provide high-capacity FWA services. High-speed and low latency supported by 5G networks enable providers to offer an attractive alternative to fixed broadband services in the areas where fiber-optic broadband doesn’t reach. “5G FWA services can be deployed faster and at a lower cost compared to installing fiber to the home (FTTH). Faster time-to-market at a lower CAPEX is the key advantage of FWA deployments to expand the service coverage and boost adoption,” explains Khin Sandi Lynn, industry analyst at ABI Research.
Most of the 5G FWA deployments at this moment are using mid-band. However, mmWave is of increasing interest since the higher bandwidth available in mmWave bands can support FWA broadband speed competitive to fiber-optic and DOCSIS technologies. Verizon is an early adopter of the 5G FWA service in mmWave. Although mmWave supports promising capacity, operators are likely to deploy a mix of mmWave and mid-band to balance speed and coverage. The choice of spectrum will depend on the market requirements such as bandwidth demand and population density in the targeted area.
Besides selecting the right spectrum band to fit the market demand, setting strategies to efficiently monetize FWA services is crucial for service providers. “Forming FWA packages which fit bandwidth and data demand and bundling with value-added services can increase adoption rates. Service providers should also explore innovative services to capture revenue-creating opportunities, such as cloud gaming, high-resolution video streaming, AR/VR-based applications for entertainment and healthcare. The ability to offer such services can fuel demand for 5G FWA services as well as enable service providers to grow revenue,” Lynn concludes.