What worth can fastened wi-fi entry convey to cellular operators? (Analyst Angle)

Fastened Wi-fi Entry (FWA) is a technique of offering last-mile wi-fi connectivity to campuses, industrial amenities, Small Workplace/Residence Workplace (SOHO), residential estates, and many others., and has been rising in recognition for the reason that introduction of 5G, which was commercially launched in 2H 2019. In keeping with the newest International cellular Suppliers Affiliation (GSA) FWA Discussion board, there was a ten% progress in international FWA companies launched between 2020 and 2021, with greater than 39% of cellular operators which have launched 5G companies additionally launching 5G FWA companies as of April 2022, signaling strong FWA progress pushed by 5G.

5G augments FWA

With 5G’s gigabit capabilities and “fiber-like” knowledge charges, FWA might now be properly suited as an alternative choice to wired broadband options and generate new enterprise options and worth for cellular operators to enhance their Common Income Per Consumer (ARPU). With Large A number of Enter, A number of Output (mMIMO) within the 64T64R configuration, Verizon might attain theoretical speeds of as much as 1 Gigabit per Second (Gbps) for 5G within the C-band, making 5G FWA a viable competitor to cable and Uneven Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL).

FWA beneficial properties international momentum

ABI Analysis forecasts that the whole variety of FWA subscriptions will develop from 81 million globally in 2021 to barely over 180 million in 2026, representing a Compound Annual Development Fee (CAGR) of 17%. Consequently, ABI Analysis believes that international FWA Buyer Premises Tools (CPE) shipments will attain 47 million yearly by 2026, with 5G FWA CPE making up the vast majority of shipments by 2026 as depicted in Chart 1.

Chart 1. FWA CPE shipments, world markets: 2019 to 2026

ABI Analysis has already begun seeing momentum for FWA gathering globally. Cellular operators see FWA as a progress alternative that may use extra community capability, particularly as extra spectrum bands like Millimeter Wave (mmWave) (26/28 GHz) and C-band (~3.5 GHz) come into play. Additionally it is prudent to notice that 5G capacities would have the ability to meet the gigabit common knowledge site visitors per consumer per thirty days Obtain or Add (DOU) necessities of dwelling broadband customers, particularly throughout the hours after 6 p.m. when cellular knowledge site visitors is decrease and glued broadband site visitors is greater.

The 5G FWA worth proposition for cellular operators is sweet information for his or her enterprise. Cellular operators can stand to create new pricing packages based mostly on various factors, akin to knowledge charges and knowledge volumes, for various use instances, akin to cloud gaming and Augmented Actuality (AR) or Digital Actuality (VR), and provide new companies, akin to a 5G FWA personal line that competes with fastened broadband. In truth, Rain and Huawei have begun efficiently deploying 5G FWA options in South Africa to compete with the fiber market in dense urbanized areas, and have demonstrated that the common throughput for these areas utilizing 5G FWA was virtually twice that of utilizing fiber, proving how 5G FWA is technologically- and business-ready to compete towards fiber.

Advantages of FWA

Together with FWA in a cellular operator’s 5G technique has many advantages. First, on the networks aspect, FWA, when in comparison with Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP), is far much less capital intensive to roll out. This is because of FWA having the ability to use present community web site infrastructure to transmit Radio Frequencies (RFs) on to CPE put in indoors or outside. Moreover, FWA CPE could be less expensive to put in and preserve, because the Working Expenditure (OPEX) of sustaining CPE is lower than that for wired landlines, which may span many miles throughout geographically difficult terrain, akin to valleys, water our bodies, and many others.

Additionally, FWA CPE distributors are always bettering their product traces and innovating new options with regard to self-installation, which may negate the necessity for an on-site technician to do the preliminary deployment.

Second, FWA can present distinctive High quality of Service (QoS) with zero influence on present 5G Enhanced Cellular Broadband (eMBB) prospects. Via correct community planning utilizing know-how like Synthetic Intelligence (AI) to foretell knowledge site visitors based mostly on geolocation and provisioning of community sources like Bodily Useful resource Blocks (PRBs), cellular operators can make sure that sources are scheduled in a manner that meets the info necessities of each FWA and eMBB prospects with no compromise. Huawei, which is deploying 5G FWA options via its networks, has discovered that byusing QoS Class Identifier (QCI)-based CPE prioritization to schedule sources, its WTTx Suite designed for FWA can make sure that there can be no influence on a cellular operator’s present eMBB choices.

Third, FWA can present a sooner Return of Funding (ROI) with differentiated companies, which have been noticed to assist enhance a cellular operator’s Common Income per Consumer (ARPU). FWA could be deployed sooner than FTTP because of the easy deployment of CPE, which could be optimized and validated with a vendor’s networks via partnership packages and certifications. As a result of advantages of FWA in having the ability to assist downloads within the gigabit capacities, cellular operators can provide differentiated pricing packages to prospects based mostly on knowledge price and DOU necessities. For instance, cellular operator Zain Kuwait has seen a speedy adoption of FWA customers prior to now 2 years and has reportedly generated a rise in 20% of ARPU between 2020 and 2021. This interprets to an growing revenue progress price from -22% in 4Q 2019 to 13% in 2Q 2021, as reported by Zain Kuwait. As a result of faster Time-To-Market (TTM) for deploying FWA and the income alternatives it brings, FWA can probably assist cellular operators obtain a sooner ROI in comparison with deploying 5G networks providing solely eMBB options.

New enterprise alternatives for worth creation

FWA can serve a number of eventualities and use instances because of its ease of deployment and suppleness. FWA also can serve all kinds of eventualities, akin to rural areas, geographically difficult areas (e.g., islands and seashores), city and sub-urban areas, enterprises and SOHO.

Cellular operators may have to concentrate on the use instances that FWA can present for purchasers and look towards incorporating a few of these into their long-term FWA technique. At the moment, DOU and knowledge price wants for FWA are rising sooner than cellular mobile. For instance, T-Cellular reviews that its common FWA consumer has a DOU of between 300 GB and 400 GB, with 10% of its FWA customers consuming 1 Terabyte (TB) of information per thirty days. As 5G FWA can present gigabit bandwidths, many new use instances could be provided to prospects. This consists of 4K options, akin to 4K high-definition video companies, live-streaming sporting occasions, cloud gaming options and superior AR and VR companies.

Based mostly on Huawei’s present FWA deployments with cellular operators like Zain Kuwait and STC, ABI Analysis discovered that the influence on companies is nil. Cell load influence was discovered to not exceed 50% for almost all (> 90%) of all Huawei’s cell websites operating each FWA and eMBB. Moreover, with mMIMO 64T64R antennas and FWA-optimized CPE, cell capability could be improved by greater than 10X, which can be adequate to service these data-hungry use instances.

Cellular operators also can look to FWA as a aggressive different to FTTP options with 5G capabilities. In truth, with 5G, FWA is not a enterprise proposition restricted to nations with low FTTP penetration and is an efficient answer to deploy rapidly for brand spanking new markets because of its sooner TTM and relative decrease price than fastened line. Even markets like China and Japan, which have sturdy FTTP penetration, are seeing the adoption of FWA because of a number of components, akin to a extra cellular and youthful demographic and having underserved areas close to the ocean or on fishing boats that fastened line can’t attain.

Deployment suggestions

To keep up the shopper expertise and allow sooner TTM, cellular operators ought to look towards strategies to allow sooner deployments with out compromising high quality and correct community provisioning to allow the required Service-Stage Agreements (SLAs) for differentiated FWA companies. For deployments, cellular operators ought to choose FWA CPE that’s validated with the 5G networks they’re utilizing. These validation checks would enable CPE to fulfill sure requirements, together with QoS supplied, Working Help System (OSS) compatibility, and many others., and due to this fact, allow sooner TTM.

Community provisioning ought to take the type of pre-deployment planning and post-deployment upkeep. In pre-deployment, it is very important perceive the present community protection obtainable and whether or not the mandatory sources could be provisioned for FWA with out affecting eMBB efficiency. One such answer is Huawei’s WTTx Suite, which helps cellular operators’ provision FWA deployments. One such function of the answer is that it makes use of AI to foretell the community sources wanted to provision a particular location and selects the optimum FWA CPE for the shopper. For post-deployment, it is crucial that automated community scheduling options are in place to make sure that the required knowledge charges and bandwidths can dynamically be shifted based mostly on components like site visitors conduct, time of day, and many others.


FWA is a big alternative with 5G. Cellular operators want to grasp the worth that FWA can convey and easy methods to leverage 5G to allow new use instances, together with video streaming, cloud gaming and superior applied sciences like AR and VR. At the moment, technological requirements provided by mMIMO 64T64R antennas, FWA CPE developments and optimizations and rising spectral and community capacities will enable FWA to offer distinctive experiences with out encroaching on the standard of present eMBB companies.

Via this, cellular operators can unlock the worth of many new use instances and enhance the monetary backside line with new pricing packages, differentiated companies based mostly on knowledge charges, bandwidths, and many others. Nonetheless, cellular operators will even want to make sure that they’ve a robust deployment technique to leverage the native benefits of FWA, which is its pace of deployment throughout a number of eventualities, permitting it to be quickly deployed in new markets. This may embrace using correct community provisioning instruments utilizing AI and good useful resource scheduling to ensure QoS.

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