Mobile Experts released a report forecasting that Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) market demand is projected to reach 170 Million by 2025. This report outlines the growing market for fixed wireless access equipment, including both 802.11-based proprietary and 3GPP based LTE and 5G technology options. The scope ranges from licensed and unlicensed frequency options across the sub-6 GHz to millimeter-wave spectrum bands. The five-year forecast illustrates the growth of the market for infrastructure and customer premise equipment and fixed wireless access connections.
Lifestyle changes brought about by COVID-19, including stay-at-home orders and remote work, have highlighted the critical demand for servicing unconnected homes and businesses where wireline broadband may be economically prohibitive.
The number of FWA connections is forecasted to grow by over 20% this year. FWA will include LTE and 5G networks running on licensed bands and proprietary systems, often leveraging unlicensed bands. According to the report, healthy growth along with a near-term surge in 2020 due to COVID-19 will translate to a 6% CAGR growth in annual CPE unit shipments from 25 million units in 2019 to over 34 million in 2025.
LTE and 5G CPE shipments will grow rapidly over the next five years as an increasing number of mobile operators direct their LTE and 5G network capacity towards FWA services. Governments are fueling this FWA growth by providing direct funding through broadband subsidy programs like the $20 billion RDOF in the U.S. As more spectrum comes available, possibly as much as 20x more across licensed and unlicensed bands, the FWA market is poised for significant growth in the years to come.
Mobile Experts added a couple of new forecast breakdowns to this year's Fixed Wireless Access report, including FWA connections and market shares by technology. The FWA connections by proprietary and 3GPP (LTE and 5G) fixed wireless show that both markets will grow, but the growth in the 3GPP segment will be stronger as larger mobile operators will increasingly focus on FWA as an incremental market opportunity for their 5G investments.