As Fixed Wireless Grows, 5G May Give it a Boost

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Fixed wireless broadband is seeing great momentum in the U.S. and the advent of 5G may help accelerate the trend. Shipments of 5G fixed wireless broadband customer premises equipment (CPE) will hit more than 2 million units in 2020 and 7 million by 2024, according to a new report from ABI Research.

The report credits carriers and device makers alike for the expected milestone:

  • Carriers: Verizon is planning to expand its 5G Home broadband service in areas within its 5G mobile network footprint. T-Mobile is also planning to commercially roll out a 5G broadband service to home users with its nationwide 5G network launch.
  • Chipsets and device makers: Qualcomm has announced it has partnered with more than 30 OEMs to develop 5G FWA CPE. At the same time, device makers such as NetComm, Nokia, and Samsung have already introduced 5G FWA CPE. As the 5G FWA ecosystem evolves, there will be additional commercial launches of 5G FWA services and CPE. The 5G FWA CPE market will increase at CAGR 71% through 2024.

“Interestingly, except for China and a few other developed markets, fiber-to-the-home penetration is still limited to less than 20% of total households worldwide. This creates a huge opportunity for the whole 5G fixed wireless broadband market,” said Khin Sandi Lynn, ABI Research industry analyst, in a prepared statement.

The report points out that 5G FWA services will need different forms of CPE and recommends that device makers support various form factors and specifications to meet service provider requirements. Examples of these variations include indoor and outdoor options, as well as devices operating in millimeter wave or sub-6 GHz spectrum bands. The integration of advanced Wi-Fi features, the ability to connect to smart home devices, and in-home Wi-Fi management solutions can add value for end-users as well as create differentiating factors for service providers.

“5G technology offers high bandwidth and ultra-low latency to attract xDSL broadband users; however, well-designed CPE with value-added features is essential to winning the highly competitive broadband game,” Lynn added.


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