The US fixed-wireless broadband market is forecast to double within five years, according to a new report released by telecoms analyst company The Carmel Group.

Core industry revenue is tipped to jump from $2.3 billion in 2016 to $5.2 billion by 2021 as the nationwide number of subscribers grows from more than 4 million to 8 million over the same period.

Pent up demand for broadband services, especially video and in under-served areas, along with favourable deployment economics, are expected to drive the growth. Per-customer monthly revenue for the segment is also expected to grow from an average of $51 in 2016 to an average of $58 in 2021 as customers become more willing to shell out for improved speeds and services.

“The Carmel Group rates the BWA [Broadband Wireless Access] industry’s growth prospects as stronger than those of cable, fibre and satellite TV,” chairman, CSO and report author Jimmy Schaeffler said in a statement.

“Optimism is in short supply in today’s pay TV and broadband markets, so the fixed-wireless industry is an exciting success story,” he added.

However, the report noted there are still several hurdles for fixed-wireless access to overcome, including competition with incumbent wireline solutions including cable and fibre in urban locales, and a bias toward mobile operators’ needs in federal regulations.

Where 5G fits in
The latter, though, could actually end up being a boon as major mobile players including AT&T and Verizon turn their attention to fixed-wireless as the first step in their journeys to mobile 5G.

A separate report from SNS Research in August predicted early commercial rollouts from AT&T and Verizon would help drive fixed-wireless 5G revenue to $1 billion by the end of 2019.

SNS Research indicated the fixed-wireless 5G market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 84 per cent from 2019 to 2025, with service revenue increasing to more than $40 billion by the end of the period.

Smaller US companies, including Mimosa and Redzone Wireless, are already touting what they claim are the first commercially viable fixed-wireless 5G services.

Earlier this year, Redzone Wireless launched “fixed wireless 5G” service on 2.5GHz and 5GHz spectrum in its home state of Maine. In May it said it is working on partnerships with regional and national telecommunications providers.