Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) allows Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to reuse the existing mobile infrastructure to offer faster and more affordable broadband services. FWA using 4G has already been deployed widely by MNOs worldwide, but it is often unable to provide the speed that can compete with wired broadband connections. With 5G, FWA can offer fibre-like speed due to the improved spectral efficiency with advanced antenna technologies, making it a competitive alternative to wired broadband solutions. According to global technology intelligence firm ABI Research, worldwide 5G FWA will reach 58 million subscriptions in 2026. In the near term, the United States is driving the number of 5G FWA connections with major operators aggressively expanding their FWA business.
“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 optimisation of network resources,” explains Fei Liu, 5G and Mobile Network Infrastructure Industry Analyst at ABI Research. “An FWA user can consume 40X more network resources than a mobile user. Therefore, 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.”
5G FWA has been deployed worldwide, and the 5G FWA market will experience growth with ongoing 5G network expansion. 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.
“5G FWA in the short term will progress without facing any capacity constraints, and MNOs should launch FWA to expand revenue by exploiting excess network capacity,” Liu recommends. “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 help improve network resource utilisation.”
These findings are from ABI Research’s 5G FWA application analysis report. This report is part of the company’s 5G & Mobile Network Infrastructure research service, which includes research, data, and analyst insights. Based on extensive primary interviews, Application Analysis reports present an in-depth analysis of key market trends and factors for a specific technology.