FWA Global Status Update – June 2021

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FWA Global Status Update – June 2021

As technology has improved, operators have been turning to mobile networks to deliver residential and business broadband services. They are using LTE, LTE-Advanced and 5G networks to deliver services in locations that are poorly served (or not served at all) by fixed-line broadband technologies based on copper, coax or fibre. Some are also offering mobile-based services as an alternative to fixed-line broadband technologies. The wireless residential/business broadband services on offer are no longer largely limited to legacy technologies, mobile data subscriptions associated with mobile phones, dongles, or even MiFi or hotspot devices. They now include the use of mobile technology to provide the main broadband connection for a home or business. This takes the form of a fixed wireless access service delivered to a mains-powered CPE device, which in turn provides local connectivity to other devices (typically over WiFi). In a relatively short space of time, fixed wireless broadband access has become a mainstream service offer.

GSA has undertaken a study to determine the extent and nature of fixed wireless access broadband service availability based on LTE or 5G technologies around the world. The full data set collected is available to GSA Members. This paper shares some of the high-level findings.

Study methodology

GSA undertook this research by visiting the websites and reviewing the mobile, home and business broadband offers of mobile and FWA operators around the world. The research was undertaken during May to June 2021 and this paper gives a snapshot of what was found. It updates a previous round of research published six months ago.

Data was collected about services delivered using indoor and outdoor CPE and focuses on FWA services delivered using LTE and 5G technologies. It does not include information about FWA access broadband services based on other technologies such as WiMAX. Note that when we talk about FWA, we only include services based on fixed-location mobile CPE (i.e. CPE requiring a mains electricity connection). MiFi, hotspot, and dongle devices are not counted as FWA devices; GSA categorises those as mobile broadband devices. We also exclude industrial-grade and large enterprise-grade FWA services and devices from our analysis, where the solution is designed for IoT deployments or for private networks.

FWA broadband services based on LTE and 5G

Operators worldwide are investing in FWA in the form of lab trials, acquisition of licences, field-based pilot projects, network deployments, or commercial service launches. GSA estimates there are at least 460 operators investing in FWA based on LTE or 5G.

Of those, GSA has identified available service offers for FWA using LTE or 5G from 436 operators in 171 countries/territories; that equates to more than half of all operators with commercial LTE or 5G networks worldwide.

FWA Global Status Update – June 2021

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FWA Global Status Update - June 2021

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