Technology growth

US Telecom Giants Driving Growth of FWA Technology, Access Evolution

In case you haven’t noticed, the Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) industry is on fire (although, thankfully, not literally). Every month we hear about new deployments or increased adoption around the world and as a result, the market for FWA technology is also growing rapidly.

According to Dell’Oro Group, FWA Radio Access Network (RAN) technology and Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) revenues are expected to grow 35% year-over-year in 2022, driven primarily by demand in North America. North, where T-Mobile USA and Verizon leveraged their national locations to market 5G-enabled FWA services and grow their customer base.

In his recent third quarter earnings reportT-Mobile noted that it added 578,000 home internet (FWA) customers to bring its total to 2.1 million, and reiterated that it expects in the next few years to enroll between 6 and 8 million. customers to the service which, at $50 per month, is significantly cheaper than competing cable broadband services and, therefore, attractive to consumers in an era of tight national budgets.

Meanwhile, Verizon added 234,000 consumer FWA customers in the third trimester bring its total to more than 620,000; it also has more than 440,000 FWA business customers.

“Fixed wireless access has become a key element in bridging the digital divide and connecting rural and underserved markets globally,” noted Jeff Heynen, vice president and analyst at Dell’Oro. “What we’re also seeing is that FWA can effectively compete with existing fixed broadband technologies, especially with the advent of 5G and other non-3GPP broadband technologies,” he added.

“Ongoing growth and demand is expected to see FWA technology revenues surpass $25 billion over the 2022-2026 period, with the United States being the “most dynamic in terms of deployed FWA technology options,” as CBRS and other sub-6GHz options are being rolled out alongside 5G and even 60GHz connectivity.

In the longer term, emerging markets in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa are expected to drive subscriber numbers as FWA is a way to economically connect end users to the Internet and 4G networks are upgraded to better support broadband services.

Dell’Oro’s growth projections match those of other research houses.

According to a recent Forecast from Juniper Research, service providers are expected to generate approximately $2.5 billion from 5G FWA services in 2023, up from $515 million expected this year. Forecasts for 2027 are even more optimistic: 5G FWA deployments are expected to represent $24 billion in revenue, depending on telcos’ abilities to deliver bundled services and divert customers from fiber broadband services.

And according to Ericsson, there were around 90 million FWA connections at the end of 2021, with that number surpassing 100 million this year and reaching nearly 230 million by 2027. The vendor’s study of vendor retail offerings of services in the world revealed that the service 311 providers in the world that were studied, 238 already have a fixed wireless access offer, and the number of operators offering 5G FWA services increased by about 30 % to reach 75 in the first six months of this year.

Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV