ABI Research predicted faster speeds and unlimited data tariffs would drive 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) broadband adoption over the next five years, but cautioned operators could encounter network capacity challenges due to subscriber growth.

It forecast 5G will account for 35 per cent of the total FWA market in 2027, with subscriptions of 72 million.

In 2022 the company predicted a total of 58 million subscriptions in 2026.

Fei Liu, 5G and mobile network infrastructure industry analyst, stated operators should decide whether they wanted to offer “best effort or quality of service” when planning for network capacity.

Over the long-term, Liu noted operators should “apply AI and machine learning to evaluate their network resource”, capacity and spectrum to “ensure steady” growth.

Liu noted mmWave as an option to ensure quality of service and sufficient network capacity as 5G-based FWA services take off.

ABI Research noted 5G FWA “can offer data rates that rival the range of fibre, making it a competitive alternative to wired broadband”.

Liu stated it is one of the “few use cases” employing Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (mMIMO) networks “to their full extent”, with a potential monthly usage of up to “1TB per subscriber”

The company stated North America, Western Europe and Asia Pacific are the current leaders for 5G FWA deployments.

Juniper Research previously predicted 5G FWA could generate revenue of $24 billion in 2027, driven by the consumer sector.