Ericsson sees FWA future for rural operators - Mobile World Live

Ericsson sees FWA future for rural operators

03 OCT 2019

Ericsson North America’s CTO for regional operators G.S. Sickand flagged fixed wireless access (FWA) and private LTE as two key sources of new income for smaller players facing the loss of traditional revenue streams.

Sickand told Mobile World Live (MWL) regional operators historically relied on roaming revenue and federal funding to help fuel network construction and operation in areas where deployments might not otherwise be economically feasible. He noted those critical aids are in danger of disappearing, as tier-1 competitors expand their networks and negotiate tougher roaming deals and regulators revisit how government funds are allocated.

While regional operators can continue to monetise their networks through consumer mobility offerings, Sickand said use cases including FWA, private LTE and IoT offer solid opportunities to generate new revenue from existing infrastructure.

“Fixed wireless is very, very important because there is a huge need in rural America to get access to broadband. And with broadband comes economic opportunity and overall economic uplift.”

He added the technology provides “dollar-for dollar the best bang for your buck” in rural areas compared to deploying fibre.

Sickand also noted regional operators are in prime position to deliver automation to manufacturing plants and other industrial centres which dot the rural landscape using private LTE.

Indeed, tier-2 operators US Cellular and C Spire, two of the largest regional players in the country, are already moving on such opportunities. Both launched FWA service in mid-2018.

US Cellular CTO Michael Irizarry told MWL in a separate interview its LTE FWA product is “doing surprisingly well,” adding the operator is exploring enhancing its offering with mmWave 5G in the future.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana is Mobile World Live's US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only...

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