- CCS Insight’s new Spotlight report highlights the proven potential of fixed wireless access, helping operators expand their coverage and provide new lucrative strategies.
- The firm estimates that fixed wireless access generated $29.5 billion in revenue for mobile network operators in 2023, forecast to grow to $67.3 billion by 2027.
- The most significant opportunities for fixed wireless access are in Asia and Africa, where solutions will become the primary way rural communities can access fixed Internet.
- Fixed wireless access is still a niche, and operators face many challenges when launching and expanding service offerings, including service scalability and adaptability.
- With the increasing use of standalone 5G and millimetre-wave frequencies, fixed wireless access has the potential to compete with fibre on speeds, becoming a more viable connectivity option in North America and Europe.
London, 31 January 2024: New research from CCS Insight sheds light on the fixed wireless access market, an emerging but crucial technology for mobile network operators. The technology helps to expand network coverage, bridging connectivity gaps in rural or semi-rural areas where laying fibre infrastructure is challenging.
The analyst firm’s report, Spotlight: Fixed Wireless Access, Worldwide, estimates that the number of fixed wireless access connections worldwide grew to 90 million in 2023, up from 69 million in 2022. These connections are forecast to generate $29.5 billion in revenue for operators in 2023. The report indicates potential for further growth in this market, with the number of connections expected to rise to 216 million by the end of 2027.
This growth has been significantly accelerated by advancements in 5G technology in Asia and Africa. For emerging economies with a lack of existing infrastructure, high mobile Internet penetration and difficult terrain — such as India, the Philippines and Indonesia — fixed wireless access is quickly becoming an accessible first broadband connection.
“Our extensive research indicates that 5G fixed wireless access isn’t just a complementary technology but a primary connectivity solution in many emerging markets”, comments Vaishali Purohit, Analyst at CCS Insight. “Countries like India are rapidly adopting fixed wireless access as their main way of getting online, which presents a huge opportunity for telecom operators and device manufacturers. We forecast that two-thirds of all fixed wireless access subscribers will be based in Asia and Africa by 2027”.
This opportunity is enhanced by some device and chipset manufacturers proposing reduced capability 5G, or RedCap 5G, for use with fixed wireless access. The justification is that it can bring down the cost of 5G equipment and cater to value-focused offerings for fixed wireless access.
Luke Pearce, Senior Analyst at CCS Insight, added: “With 75 million LTE fixed wireless access connections globally in 2023, RedCap 5G offers a promising and cost-effective path for migrating a massive number of users from LTE to 5G connectivity in regions with poor fixed broadband connection”.
However, CCS Insight states that fixed wireless access isn’t just an opportunity for emerging markets. For advanced economies, where fibre coverage and penetration are high, fixed wireless access is used to support last-mile connectivity or as an alternative simple and fast deployment model.
Furthermore, operators using the latest network architecture for standalone 5G and millimetre-wave frequencies, like many in the US, can offer new 5G fixed wireless access packages with consistent broadband speeds up to and above 1 Gbps to compete with fibre.
However, scaling fixed wireless access services to meet increasing customer needs without compromising quality is a constant challenge for operators launching or expanding their offerings. Convincing potential customers that fixed wireless access can provide the same quality of experience as fixed broadband is also difficult, with operators experimenting with minimum speed guarantees and 30-day money-back programmes.
Despite these hurdles, the potential for growth is significant. CCS Insight forecasts that, by 2027, the revenue generated from fixed wireless access services could rise to a total of $67 billion, more than doubling the revenue forecast for 2023.
Purohit observes: “Fixed wireless access is becoming more prevalent, offering quick, simple and competitively priced fixed broadband solutions to consumers and businesses. It’s a major opportunity for operators looking for a last-mile rural solution to amplify coverage and connect the unconnected, particularly in large emerging markets”. Furthermore, faster speeds thanks to the use of 5G and 5G-Advanced are expected to elevate fixed wireless access to a suitable alternative to wired broadband.
The full findings of the report are available now. Contact CCS Insight for more information.
Notes to editors
CCS Insight is a leading provider of research on the telecommunications market. It conducts dedicated research into 5G networks and mobile operators.
This research was undertaken in October and November 2023. The final report summarizes primary research conducted with active participants in the fixed wireless access market. It addresses the critical questions facing the fixed wireless access industry and the broadband market overall, showing the size and scale of the market, as well as the main players, business models and strategies that will shape its future.
About CCS Insight
CCS Insight is a global analyst company specializing in the technology and telecom sectors. The firm offers comprehensive services tailored to meet the individual needs of its clients, helping them make sense of the connected world and optimize their strategies. With a focus on current and future trends, CCS Insight provides valuable insights and analysis to navigate the complex technology landscape. Follow @CCSInsight on X or learn more at www.ccsinsight.com.
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