PARTNER FEATURE: The number of 4G and 5G FWA users now exceeds 100 million, making FWA a key new mobile operator service for 2020 and beyond, as referenced from Huawei’s 4G/5G FWA Broadband White Paper. Fixed wireless access (FWA) is a low-cost, easy-to-deploy and flexible broadband solution, which plays an important role in today’s broadband industry. With the development of wireless technologies and industry ecosystem, the 4G/5G FWA has become an important solution that drives the rapid deployment of high speed broadband.
Currently, more than 1 billion families in the world are without fixed broadband access. Due to the limitations of ICT infrastructure investment and affordability, broadband deployment is slow particularly in developing and underdeveloped countries. Connecting the unconnected as a result has become an important challenge for the broadband industry. Affordability is a key driver by operators using 4G/5G FWA technology to improve internet broadband penetration. The existing MBB (mobile broadband) network can be reused to quickly provide home broadband services in areas without fixed broadband coverage. Avoiding the need to dig trenches, bury cables and agree right of way passage, 4G/5G FWA obtains better ROI at relatively low prices, thereby helping the society to bridge the digital divide with a sustainable business model.
72% of households with broadband connection outside China still access the Internet through low-speed xDSL. Such households are effectively impeded from enjoying a true digital experiences such as HD video and live streaming. 4G/5G FWA could be a solution that allows operators to quickly and economically upgrade existing copper line, improving users’ digital experience. Rates of up to 1 Gbps can be delivered via latest wireless technologies (such as multi-antenna and MIMO) and device-pipe collaboration, which enables a spectrum efficiency 3~5 times higher than that of traditional MBB. Aside from traditional home services, 4G/5G FWA can also be applied to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Supported by convenient guaranteed high-speed services, SMEs can remove the limitation of geography and quickly deploy a modern enterprise network, thereby achieving greater development and entry to the wider global market.
To date, the number of FWA networks in the world has exceeded 230, with more than 10 million-user networks. FWA brings together commercial success to operators, with increased customer acquisition, revenue and profits and reduction in customer churn. In one case, FWA subscribers of a Japanese operator increased five times within two years, currently with more than 3 million subscribers, their broadband market share increased from 10% to more than 15%; An operator in the Philippines acquired 1.2 million FWA subscribers, accounting for 65% of total broadband subscribers, with the proportion of broadband revenue in total revenue increasing from 13% in 2017 to 15% in 2018.
With the release of 5G large bandwidth spectrums drawing ever closer, and the industry continuing to mature, 5G technology will further increase in capacity and reduce the cost per GB. Resulting in an additional boost for FWA capabilities, enabling operators to provide Gbps packages empowering AR, VR, and 4K/8K HD video, and providing users with vastly enhanced experiences. Throughout 2020 and beyond, 4G/5G FWA will drive a new form of sustainable growth and healthy ecosystem.