Forecast: 5G Fixed Wireless to See Strong Growth Thanks to Lower Equipment Costs
The decreasing costs of 5G fixed wireless consumer premises equipment (CPE) and an increase in the number of vendors and units being produced is expected to double the number of 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) subscribers this year, according to a 5G fixed wireless forecast from Dell’Oro Group.
The average cost of an indoor 5G FWA CPE device supporting sub-6Hz frequency bands will decline from about $350 last year to about $100 by the end of 2023, according to Dell’Oro Group.
5G FWA Forecast
Dell’Oro Group research suggests there is considerable room for growth for 5G FWA.
At the end of last year there were almost 60 million fixed wireless subscribers globally. Most used 4G LTE, with some on 3G, proprietary point-to-point services and early 5G platforms, including sub 6GHz and mmWave. The researchers estimate that 5G FWA currently only accounts for about 1 million of that total.
The doubling of 5G FWA subscribers will be due to service expansion and introductions by T-Mobile (USA), AT&T, Verizon, Bell Canada, and several international carriers this year.
Dell’Oro cites Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) statistics to track the increase in available equipment. The organizations says that more than 130 indoor and outdoor FWA CPE devices have been announced. More than 50 of the devices are now commercially available, while only 15 were commercially available a year ago. Dell’Oro expects more than 100 to be commercially available by the end of the year and sees the number doubling in 2022.
The list of 5G FWA vendors also is growing. There now are more than 50 – with the number of vendors currently producing equipment or planning to do so already outstripping the number of 4G FWA CPE suppliers.
The price reductions will be led by 5G chipsets, which will benefit from increased demand from the smartphones, modems, gateways, tablets, vehicles and other equipment that requires 5G WAN connectivity.
“The increase in available units, which corresponds with the perceived addressable market of 5G network deployments and subscriber uptake, combined with the rapid uptake of 5G-capable smartphones will help to push the cost of both indoor and outdoor 5G FWA units down to levels that satisfy the business case requirements of operators globally,” wrote Jeff Heynen, the author of the report.