Ericsson: 5G FWA is gaining momentum

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The latest Ericsson Mobility Report highlights the growing strength of Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) as a key 5G use case for communications service providers (CSPs) worldwide.

The report – which includes Ericsson’s latest mobile industry forecasts, regional breakdowns, and customer case studies – reveals a significant increase in the number of CSPs offering FWA services over the past year.

According to the study, which sampled 310 CSPs globally, 241 now offer FWA services as of April 2024. Notably, 128 of these providers – approximately 53 percent – include a 5G FWA offering in their portfolio. This represents a twelve-point increase from the corresponding period in 2023, translating to a growth of 29 percent.

The appeal of 5G FWA has been further enhanced by its speed, data handling capabilities, and low latency. These features have made speed-based FWA tariff plans, similar to cable or fibre offerings, increasingly attractive to CSPs. As a result, there has been an almost 50 percent growth in the number of service providers offering 5G FWA speed-based tariffs in the past year, with 40 percent of all FWA CSPs now adopting this approach.

Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Networks at Ericsson, commented: “The June 2024 Ericsson Mobility Report shows continued strong uptake of 5G subscriptions. Enhanced Mobile Broadband and Fixed Wireless Access are the leading use cases, with signs that 5G capabilities are influencing service providers’ Fixed Wireless Access offerings. The report also highlights the need for increased deployment of 5G Standalone technology to fully realise the potential of 5G.”

The report indicates that approximately 300 CSPs globally now offer 5G services, with about 50 having launched 5G Standalone (5G SA) networks. This underscores the ongoing evolution and maturation of 5G technology across the telecommunications landscape.

Subscription growth remains robust across all regions, with 160 million 5G subscriptions added globally in the first quarter of 2024, bringing the total to over 1.7 billion. Ericsson researchers project that 5G subscriptions will reach nearly 5.6 billion by the end of 2029, accounting for about 60 percent of all mobile subscriptions.

Regional disparities in 5G adoption are expected to persist. North America is forecast to lead with the highest penetration by the end of 2029, with 90 percent (or 430 million) of subscriptions expected to be 5G. In India, 5G subscriptions are anticipated to grow from 119 million at the end of 2023 to approximately 840 million by the end of 2029, representing a significant shift from 10 percent to 65 percent of all mobile subscriptions in the country.

The report also sheds light on user experience improvements enabled by 5G technology. Data from a leading service provider reveals that 97 percent of all user activities on 5G mid-band achieved a time-to-content of less than 1.5 seconds, compared to 67 percent on 5G low-band and 38 percent on 4G across all bands.

While mobile network data traffic continues to grow, driven primarily by subscriber migration to later generations and data-intensive services such as video, the report notes a downward adjustment in year-on-year growth compared to the November 2023 report. This adjustment is attributed to changes in underlying data, including lower numbers reported by regulators and service providers in populous markets for the second half of 2023.

Looking ahead, mobile data traffic is forecast to grow with a compound annual growth rate of about 20 percent through the end of 2029. By that time, it is expected that approximately 75 percent of all mobile network data will be handled by 5G networks, up from about a quarter at the end of 2023.

As 5G continues to evolve and expand its reach, the Ericsson Mobility Report underscores the technology’s growing importance in shaping the future of telecommunications and digital connectivity worldwide.

(Photo by Alternate Skate)

See also: US 5G performance surges as carriers deploy mid-band spectrum

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