As the buzz around 5G gains momentum, 5G-enabled Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) broadband subscriptions to cross 462 million by 2030, from roughly 75 million in 2021.
5G FWA will drive the bulk of the growth beyond 2025, replacing 4G FWA connections that will be still prevalent in some markets across Middle East and Africa (MEA), developing Asia and Latin America until 2024, according to Counterpoint Research.
FWA is a scalable cellular wireless option for broadband connectivity to stationary equipment that provides Internet access.
"By the end of 2021, only one out of every three households around the world (excluding China) had access to fixed broadband. And only 25 per cent of those households enjoyed speeds greater than 100 Mbps," said Principal Analyst Tina Lu.
As 5G takes centre stage, the new 5G network architectures and broader spectrum promise enhanced broadband services at a scale not possible in previous generations.
Many developing economies as well as parts of developed economies still suffer from a digital divide with many unable to access broadband connectivity.
"5G-enabled Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) is a killer use-case for bridging this digital divide and providing connectivity where fibre or even DSL has not yet reached," said the report.
The report said that there is a significant push from operators and even governments to prioritise national broadband initiatives with 5G FWA becoming integral to their 5G rollout strategies.
"The US is currently the single biggest 5G FWA market, with both Verizon and T-Mobile being bullish on 5G FWA with mmWave rollouts ideal for dense urban connectivity, and sub-6GHz spectrum driving broader coverage and above average throughput speeds," said Lu.
But the last-mile connection to fibre is very costly in rural areas, which opens the need for 5G FWA.
"Africa, India, and other South Asian countries (excluding China), on the other hand, have the lowest fibre penetration and thus have the most potential to drive the 5G FWA subscriber growth this decade," added Lu.