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LTE vs 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA)

We have done multiple posts on our blogs looking at Fixed Wireless Access (FWA). It all started with this tutorial here. 5G FWA was one of the most popular services being offered by the operators. 

Late last year, the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) announced the establishment of the GSA 4G-5G fixed wireless access (FWA) forum to bring together leading chipset, module and terminal vendors—as well as other telecommunications industry representatives, who wish to promote 4G and 5G FWA technology, products and services—to report on progress of FWA deployments, identify use cases and encourage global adoption. 

At the recent GSA 4G-5G FWA Forum, Simon Sherrington, VP Research, GSA, presented the status of Fixed Wireless Access. Some of the highlights from his talk:

FWA investment is global

  • At least 477 operators in 175 countries/territories catalogued as investing in FWA based on LTE or 5G
    • Trials, pilots, deployments, commercial launches or investment in licences
  • GSA has identified available service offers for FWA using LTE or 5G from 430 operators in 168 countries/territories
    • Plus five 5G FWA soft launches
    • >half of all LTE or 5G operators worldwide
  • Including residential or business offers

LTE FWA in context

  • By March 2021, 917 operators in 243 countries/territories had stated plans to or were actively investing in LTE for public networks
  • Of those, a total of 807 operators in 240 countries/territories had launched LTE networks providing public services
    • 745 operators in 60 countries/territories had launched 3GPP-compliant LTE mobile services
    • 424 operators in 167 countries/territories had launched 3GPP-compliant LTE FWA or home broadband services
    • In total GSA has identified 448 operators investing in LTE FWA – up from 429 in November 2020

5G FWA in context

  • By end March 2021, 430 operators in 132 countries/territories were investing in 5G
  • 176 operators in 76 countries/territories had announced they had deployed 3GPP compliant technology in their live networks
  • Of those, a total of 154 operators in 64 countries/territories had launched one or more 3GPP-compliant 5G services
    • 146 operators in 60 countries/territories had launched 3GPP-compliant 5G mobile services
    • 53 operators in 30 countries/territories had launched 3GPP-compliant 5G FWA or home broadband services
    • Overall, 110 operators were investing in 5G FWA, up from 98 in November 2020

LTE vs 5G

  • Marketed service speeds vary widely
  • Many operators make no promises, just offering ‘4G speed’, ‘LTE speed’ or ‘5G speed’
  • Where promoted they are often described in terms of the maximum possible speed
  • Few promise a guaranteed minimum

The recording of the operator & regulator presentations, plus the roundtable discussion, is also available here.

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