30 operators now offer 5G-based Fixed Wireless Access

The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) has established a Fixed Wireless Access Working Group to coordinate industry initiatives to deliver fixed wireless broadband services based on LTE and 5G access networks.

The founding members of the FWA Working Group are Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia, Samsung and ZTE.
FWA is an innovative solution which enables easy and rapid deployment of broadband networks. It allows carriers to meet the increasing demand for high speed broadband services time to market and more cost-effectively.

To support the activities of the new Working Group, GSA has undertaken a study to determine the extent and nature of fixed wireless access broadband service availability based on LTE or 5G around the world. GSA analysed 927 companies including all known existing LTE operators, plus companies that are known to be investing in or have previously announced plans to invest in LTE networks (including trials, companies with licences, and those planning or involved in deployments), in 232 countries and territories.

Some highlights

  • Fixed wireless access broadband based on LTE is available worldwide, although is much more prevalent in some regions than others.
  • GSA identified 395 operators in 164 countries selling FWA services based on LTE.
  • In addition, of the 73 operators that have announced 5G launches worldwide, GSA counted 37 operators that have announced the launch of either home or business 5G broadband using routers.
  • Of these 37, GSA identified 30 operators selling 5G-based FWA services.

As technology has improved, operators have been turning to mobile networks to deliver home and office broadband services, in some cases offering mobile-based services as an alternative to fixed-line broadband technologies,” said Joe Barrett, President, Global mobile Suppliers Association. “The home/office broadband services on offer are no longer limited to mobile data subscriptions associated with mobile phones, dongles, or even MiFi devices. They now include use of mobile technology to provide the main broadband connection for a home or business in the form of a fixed wireless access services. In a relatively short space of time, fixed wireless broadband access has become a mainstream service offer and the formation of this new GSA Working Group is testament to the acceleration in industry activity in Fixed Wireless Access.”

The number of announced 5G devices has continued to climb rapidly, accompanied this month by an equally rapid rise in the number of 5G devices that are commercially available. In January 2020, the number of announced 5G devices exceeded 200 for the first time; by mid-April over 280 devices had been announced, of which at least 95 are commercially available.

By mid-April 2020, GSA had identified:

  • sixteen announced form factors (phones, head-mounted displays, hotspots, indoor CPE, outdoor CPE, laptops/notebooks, modules, snap-on dongles/adapters, industrial grade CPE/routers/gateways, drones, robots, tablets, TVs, a switch, modems and a vending machine).
  • eighty-one vendors who had announced available or forthcoming 5G devices.
  • two hundred and eighty-three announced devices (including regional variants, and phones that can be upgraded using a separate adapter, but excluding prototypes not expected to be commercialised and operator-branded devices that are essentially rebadged versions of other phones), including at least 95 that are commercially availableone hundred and eight phones, (up 21 from mid-March), at least 64 of which are now commercially available (up 24 in a month). Includes three phones that are upgraded to offer 5G using an adapter.
  • seventy-nine CPE devices (indoor, and outdoor, including two Verizon-spec compliant devices not meeting 3GPP 5G standards), at least 14 of which are now believed to be commercially available
    • forty-seven modules
    • nineteen hotspots (including regional variants), at least ten of which are now commercially available
    • five laptops (notebooks)
    • five industrial grade CPE/routers/gateways
    • twenty other devices (including drones, head mounted displays, robots, snap-on dongles/adapters, a switch, tablets, TVs, USB terminals/dongles/modems, and a vending machine).


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