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About $2.5bn will be spent on 5G fixed wireless access services globally in 2023, as the benefits match that of fibre networks, according to Juniper Research.
Figures from the research company show a huge increase, 480%, compared with $515m spent this year, as 5G is taken on by more businesses.
5G fixed wireless is an alternative to wired connections where wireless broadband is provided using radio links between two points. It includes services that provide high-speed internet connectivity through cellular-enabled customer premises equipment.
“This staggering growth will be driven by 5G’s advanced network capabilities, such as ultra-low delay and increased data processing to provide connectivity services that were previously unachievable with 4G technology,” said Juniper Research.
Juniper predicts this increase will continue over the next five years, with suppliers of 5G fixed wireless access services making $24bn worth of sales globally by 2027. It said the consumer market will account for 96% of this spending.
Elisha Sudlow-Poole, research author at Juniper, said: “The benefits of fixed wireless access are now comparable with services using fibre-based networks. Operators have an immediate opportunity to generate revenue from broadband subscriptions directly to end users by providing last-mile solutions underpinned by their existing 5G infrastructure.”
However, warned Juniper: “Operators must provide a compelling user proposition for FWA solutions through the bundling of services such as video streaming, gaming and smart home security, to enrich user experience and gain competitive advantage against incumbent high-speed connectivity technologies, such as fibre to the property.”
In the UK, two fixed wireless access (FWA) firms are taking 5G connectivity to rural Wales and Dorset.
As part of the Welsh government’s efforts to ensure all residents have access to fast and reliable digital infrastructure, and in the company’s latest collaboration between itself and Vodafone, with whom it is already working together to bring 5G connectivity in the Netherlands, Effect Photonics is assisting with the roll-out of 5G FWA services in hard-to-reach areas in Wales.
Led by Vodafone, the project seeks to deliver broadband connectivity to 422 households in Anglesey, an island off the northwest coast of Wales.