All the ingredients are in place for a boom in fixed wireless access says Subex CTO Suresh Chintada
Telenor Sweden has re-launched its fixed wireless access (FWA) broadband service which is aimed at home users and small businesses in rural areas without fibre connectivity. Though the offer is being marketed as ‘5G-ready’ it still runs on Telenor’s 4G LTE network, due to the low coverage of 5G in Sweden’s vast rural regions. Telenor 5G is available in 37 cities across Sweden and Telenor claims coverage will expand to reach 90 per cent of the population by the end of 2023. The telco has provided a 4G-based FWA product since 2011.
Three drivers of FWA
Three forces are driving FWA across Europe, says Suresh Chintada, the CTO at comms managed service provider Subex. The drivers are technology, affordable consumer devices and applications. Though Sweden has not suffered from a lockdown, the issue in many countries is being forced by government reactions to Covid, according to Chintada. The broadband consumer in the post pandemic world has high expectations of performance, high bandwidth and cost-effective network connectivity. “It’s become a fundamental right,” says Chintada. “With FWA offering a hundred times more capacity than 4G, a 5G network definitely comes in as a disruptor into this context because it solves the last mile connectivity gap that exists today.”
More devices for 5G available
“Last year the number of 5G FWA device makers surpassed the 4G FWA numbers. There are already devices and certifications available in the market, supporting a variety of use cases. Zoom meetings and the rise of the ‘metaverse’ will make consumers and home workers start asking awkward questions about who can really supply high capacity, low latency and cost effective network bandwidth, says Chintada. “We see applicability increasing as augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality gaming and experiences get easier to use and popular, with 5G providing the necessary fuel. So in 2022 we’ll see these forces combine to fuel the rapid growth of 5G FWA in the telecom market,” said Chintada, “the best years of accelerated convergence are just ahead.”