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GSA's April Fixed Wireless Access Global Status Update

  • 3 minute read
  • Published by Eleanor Brash on 30 Apr 2020
  • Last modified 4 May 2020
GSA has undertaken a study to determine the extent and nature of fixed wireless access broadband service availability based on LTE or 5G around the world.

As technology has improved, operators have been turning to mobile networks to deliver home and office broadband services. They are using LTE and LTE-Advanced networks to deliver services in locations that are poorly served (or not served at all) by fixed-line alternatives such as ADSL, VDSL, cable or fibre. Some are also offering mobile-based services as an alternative to fixed-line broadband technologies. The home/office broadband services on offer are no longer limited to mobile data subscriptions associated with mobile phones, dongles, or even MiFi devices. They now include use of mobile technology to provide the main broadband connection for a home or business in the form of a fixed wireless access service delivered to CPE, which in turn provides local connectivity to other devices (typically over WiFi). In a relatively short space of time, fixed wireless broadband access has become a mainstream service offer.

GSA has undertaken a study to determine the extent and nature of fixed wireless access broadband service availability based on LTE or 5G around the world. The full data set collected is available to GSA Members. This paper shares some of the high-level findings.

Study methodology

GSA undertook this research by visiting the websites and reviewing the mobile and home broadband offers of every mobile and FWA operator. Data was collected about services delivered using indoor and outdoor CPE. For completeness, GSA also collected data about the number of operators providing MiFi/hotspot services, either on their own or as well as FWA broadband services. The research was undertaken during the first quarter of 2020 and represents a snapshot of what was found. The data set does not include information about FWA access broadband services based on other technologies such as WiMAX.

GSA analysed the websites of 927 companies including all known existing LTE operators, plus companies that are known to be investing in or have previously announced plans to invest in LTE networks (including trials, companies with licences, and those planning or involved in deployments), in 232 countries.

FWA broadband services based on LTE and 5G

Fixed wireless access broadband based on LTE is available worldwide, although is much more prevalent in some regions than others. GSA identified 395 operators in 164 countries selling FWA services based on LTE. In addition, of the 73 operators that have announced 5G launches worldwide, GSA counted 37 operators that have announced the launch of either home or business 5G broadband using routers. Of these 37, GSA identified 30 operators selling 5G-based FWA services. (For the seven others, services are either provided using Mifi/hotspot routers, or information about packages is not publicly available on websites because services are only available on a limited geographical basis or to select customer groups.)