Global households shift toward 5G fixed wireless access

Many analysts have regarded fixed wireless access (FWA) as one of the key use cases for 5G networks, with a commensurate surge in uptake. This is reflected in the latest Ericsson ConsumerLab report, there are now clear household preferences for high-speed broadband and convenience supporting 5G FWA adoption.

The Ericsson ConsumerLab report: Capturing the 5G FWA opportunity – A household view covered 19 countries, representing 370 million households where 1.2 billion individuals live, aiming to offer a diverse and comprehensive understanding of the evolving consumer choices and perceptions related to FWA as a connectivity option.

Among the key findings of the report was service users’ shift towards FWA compared with other types of connectivity. As many as seven out of 10 households with 5G FWA chose it as a full replacement for their previously used connectivity. Convenience was highlighted as one of the key advantages of FWA, with households indicating FWA as outperforming wired solutions in flexibility, customisation and ease of installation.

Ericsson found FWA was currently the largest 5G use case after mobile broadband in terms of uptake, with connections worldwide forecast to grow almost threefold to 330 million by the end of 2029, generating $75bn in annual service provider revenues. Households also expressed higher satisfaction using 5G FWA than fibre in terms of service experience for delivery time, contract conditions, equipment quality and cost level. Satisfaction was found to be on par with fibre for network performances as measured by speed, indoor coverage, security and capacity.

The key driver for households when opting for FWA was a need for high speed. However, Ericsson cautioned that one in three households believe that wired is superior to wireless in terms of speed, which is a barrier to FWA adoption and indicates a need to ensure the committed speeds of FWA offering.

Less than a tenth of households using 5G FWA would consider terminating their subscription within a year. Ericsson noted that this commitment to, or preference for, the solution provided by FWA does not only pertain to markets with 5G FWA, but also to markets where 4G is still present to a certain extent.

In households currently using 4G FWA, a total of two in three stated they will continue using connectivity enabled by FWA and will upgrade to 5G when it is available in their area/region. Ericsson claimed this indicated two important points: FWA is popular with households, and 5G is an appealing factor for maintaining FWA.

In addition to examining the state of 4G and 5G FWA from a household perspective, the report revealed preferences and barriers that were hindering households from opting for FWA connectivity. It discovered six distinct household segments, each with varying levels of interest and need for FWA: price pushers, bundling seekers, capacity upgraders, connectivity upgraders, convenience seekers, and mobile champions.

Commenting on the study, John Yazlle, head of FWA at Ericsson Networks, said: “[The] results validate household preferences for high-speed broadband and convenience supporting 5G FWA adoption. With 5G technology and networks in place, it is the right moment to capture this large opportunity, with more than a billion underserved households and enterprises globally.”

Jasmeet Singh Sethi, head of ConsumerLab, added: “The report explores the high potential growth of the FWA market given that one in two households have stated their interest in 5G FWA and highlights that, even beyond the US, households choosing 5G FWA are abandoning their previous home broadband connections.” 

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