Fixed wireless access outlook
Over 330 million FWA connections expected by 2029
- The number of service providers offering Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) over 5G is growing in all regions.
- Over half of the global FWA growth during the last 12 months came from launches in emerging markets.
- FWA over 5G is offered by 121 service providers globally, representing half of total FWA service providers.
During the last year, FWA has grown solidly in terms of the:
- number of mobile service providers offering FWA
- proportion of providers offering it over 5G
- share of providers with speed-based tariff plans
- FWA customer premises equipment (CPE) shipment growth, including 5G
- amount of traffic served, both in the number of connections and the traffic volume per connection
Global FWA momentum
An updated Ericsson study1 of retail packages offered by mobile service providers has shown that around 80 percent have an FWA offering. There are 121 service providers offering FWA services over 5G, representing 50 percent of all FWA service providers.
Shipments of FWA indoor and outdoor CPE are expected to increase by 31 percent during 2023 to reach almost 25 million units. This is driven by strong growth of indoor devices, forecast to reach 21.6 million units, equaling a yearly growth of 34 percent. Shipments of 5G FWA CPE are forecast to increase in 2023 to 13.8 million, rising by 86 percent, and representing more than 40 percent of the total.2
Availability of speed-based tariff plans on the rise
Speed-based tariff plans are commonly offered for fixed broadband services, such as those delivered over fiber or cable. This type of plan is well understood by consumers, enabling service providers to monetize FWA as a broadband alternative. About 30 percent of FWA service providers now offer speed-based tariff plans, up from 25 percent a year ago. The remaining 70 percent have volume-based tariff plans (buckets of GB per month).
Figure 19: Global FWA service provider adoption: 2020–2023
There are large regional variations in the proportion of service providers adopting FWA:
- In the regions North America, Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, over 80 percent of mobile service providers offer FWA.
- Currently, North America stands out as the region with the highest adoption, with 100 percent providing an FWA offering, 80 percent offering services over 5G, and 90 percent having speed-based offerings.
- Latin America has a low percentage of service providers offering FWA, as well as a low percentage offering services over 5G. However, it has the second highest speed-based tariff plan adoption of all regions at more than 40 percent.
- Western Europe has the second-highest adoption, but is average in terms of offering speed-based tier plans.
Figure 20: Regional FWA service provider adoption 2023
FWA service provider advancements
- In India, two major service providers have launched 5G FWA services. Between them, they have expressed very high ambitions of serving homes and businesses with 5G FWA services in the coming two to three years.
- During the last year, 18 service providers in emerging markets have launched FWA services over 5G. These launches have been made in highly populated countries such as India, Brazil and Nigeria.
- As of November 2023, 50 out of 121 service providers with 5G FWA offerings are in emerging markets, with 11 of these service providers being in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Over half of all new 5G FWA launches during the last year came from emerging markets.
Over 330 million FWA connections by 2029
From 130 million at the end of 2023, FWA connections worldwide are projected to increase to 330 million by the end of 2029. This represents 18 percent of all fixed broadband connections. Of the 330 million projected connections, close to 85 percent are expected to be over 5G.
Figure 21: FWA connections
FWA is a connection that provides primary broadband access through mobile network-enabled CPE. This includes various form factors of CPE, such as indoor (desktop and window) and outdoor (rooftop and wall-mounted). It does not include portable battery-based Wi-Fi routers or dongles.
Over 45 percent of global FWA connections to be in Asia-Pacific by 2029
The forecast has taken the high ambitions of 5G FWA in emerging markets into account, both in terms of increasing the number of connections as well as the share of 5G FWA connections.Higher volumes of 5G FWA in large, high-growth countries, such as India, have the potential to drive economies of scale for the overall 5G FWA ecosystem, resulting in affordable CPE that will have a positive impact across low-income markets.
The number of FWA connections in Asia-Pacific is expected to more than triple, increasing its share of global FWA connections from 38 to 46 percent by 2029.
Figure 22: Regional split in FWA connections: 2023–2029
FWA impact on global mobile data traffic
FWA data traffic is forecast to represent 19 percent of global mobile data traffic at the end of 2023, and is projected to grow by a factor of more than 5 to reach 159 EB in 2029 – close to 30 percent of total mobile network data traffic.
1. 310 service providers, representing around 90 percent of global mobile revenues.
2. Ericsson and GSA, FWA Forum CPE Survey (September 2023).