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Research: T-Mobile to top US 5G FWA connections

August 8, 2022

In 2020, 22 per cent of US households did not have access to fixed broadband. This number will be reduced to almost 1 per cent by the end of 2027, according to Counterpoint Research’s latest USA 5G FWA and CPE Ecosystem Analysis and Forecast Report.

More than half of the US households that utilise VDSL/cable technology for fixed broadband will migrate to either FWA or fibre. In 2025, the US will have almost 26 million 4G, 5G and non-cellular FWA subscriptions, less than half of that of fibre.

“T-Mobile will lead the 5G FWA market by the end of 2022, with an estimated 67 per cent share,” advises Tina Lu, Principal Analyst. “It will be followed by Verizon with a 29 per cent share. With T-Mobile’s layer cake approach to 5G, the company expects to reach 99 per cent of the population by the end of 2023. Other carriers such as Verizon have been faster with their push for mmWave, but they recently changed their strategy to focus on the deployment of networks for the C-band spectrum. FWA will remain a big priority, especially expansion into rural areas where there is often one or even no provider of high-speed broadband.

“However, in the long run, WISPA [Wireless Internet Service Providers Association] is the main supporter of this FWA technology. Although some of these smaller players might utilise alternative FWA technology with unlicensed or lightly licensed spectrum, 4G/LTE technology will dominate FWA subscriptions till 2024. By 2025, most of the FWA subscriptions will be 5G,” she predicts.

“5G FWA CPE will offer a cumulative revenue opportunity of $7.6 billion between 2021 and 2025,” adds Parv Sharma, Senior Research Analyst. “Operators will have control of the bundling and distribution of devices. The initial mix of mmWave and sub-6GHz CPEs will keep the ASPs high, but with scale and a maturing 5G landscape, we estimate that ASP erosion will increase significantly. Furthermore, US operators are focusing more on the rollout of the 5G mid-band spectrum to increase the coverage.”

“Nokia was the first 5G FWA CPE launched in the market and remains the absolute leader of the FWA-CPE market in 2021. However, operators are looking for new OEMs to expand their CPE device portfolio in the <$300 price band. Due to geopolitical considerations, US operators are preferring Taiwanese ODMs,” Sharma notes.

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