FWA market matures

04 July 2024

The number of operators worldwide offering 5G-based fixed wireless access (FWA) internet is growing, reveals the latest Ericsson’s Mobility Report.

While the number of telecoms operators offering FWA services has fallen slightly in the past year – there were 241 as of April, down from 245 a year earlier – the proportion and absolute number with 5G FWA services continues to grow. 128 telcos have a 5G FWA offer, or around 53% of the total, up from around 100 in April 2023.

40% of those FWA providers offer speed-based plans, up from 27% last year, which indicates a maturing of the technology. The speed, data handling and low latency capabilities of 5G FWA have increased the attractiveness of this type of plan for telcos, offered to customers within upload and download speed parameters, that are starting to look similar to fibre and cable broadband services.

“The June 2024 Ericsson Mobility Report shows continued strong uptake of 5G subscriptions,” said Fredrik Jejdling, EVP and head of networks at Ericsson. “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.”

Around 300 operators worldwide have now launched commercial 5G offerings and in the first quarter of this year they collectively added 160 million new subscriptions, taking the number of 5G subscribers worldwide to 1.7 billion.

Overall, there were 130 million FWA subscribers in the world at end-2023, fewer than a third of which were 5G connections. It forecasts that the total will grow to 330 million by the end of 2029, of which close to 85% – some 280 million – will be over 5G.

As it stands, North America leads the FWA market in terms of maturity, with four major operators together claiming 9 million customers as of Q1 this year, up from 5 million a year earlier.

The Asia-Pacific is the largest market based on volume, and will increase its share in the years to the end of the decade. Almost half of the global total 5G FWA customers at end-2029 will be located in the region, up from 39% today.