A growing number of households worldwide are using fixed wireless access as their main home broadband connection and indications are that satisfaction is higher than it is with fibre connections.

Mary Lennighan

February 23, 2024

2 Min Read

The customer satisfaction angle is one of the headline findings of a new report into fixed wireless access (FWA) published by Ericsson this week. And overall the report – dubbed 'Capturing the 5G FWA opportunity: A household view' – paints a pretty optimistic picture of FWA globally, particularly given the ongoing spread of 5G networks.

The Swedish equipment maker's ConsumerLab carried out an extensive study into FWA usage in the back half of last year, surveying 23,700 respondents in 19 countries, including markets with little or no 5G-based FWA as well as those where it is becoming more common, like the US and Australia.

The report is not particularly data-heavy, but it does give a flavour of the market and its potential, which will make for encouraging reading for telcos already embracing FWA, as well as those with an eye on future monetisation of 5G.

On that last point, FWA is already starting to prove itself.

"Fixed wireless access is currently the largest 5G use case after mobile broadband in terms of uptake, with connections worldwide forecast to grow almost threefold to 330 million by the end of 2029, generating US$75 billion in annual service provider revenues," said John Yazlle, Head of Fixed Wireless Access at Ericsson Networks, in a statement accompanying the report.

"The report explores the high potential growth of the FWA market given that 1 in 2 households have stated their interest in 5G FWA and highlights that even beyond the US, households choosing 5G FWA are abandoning their previous home broadband connections," added Jasmeet Singh Sethi, Head of ConsumerLab.

Indeed, Ericsson's data shows that the number of households using 5G FWA as their primary means of connectivity stood at 69% last year, markedly higher than the 53% figure it reports for one to two years ago, and 46% more than two years ago. And customers are not just replacing older technologies in favour of 5G FWA; 19% replaced cut the cord on fibre last year.

What's more, fewer than one in 10 households using 5G FWA said they would consider terminating their subscription within a year.

And compared with fibre households were more satisfied with 5G FWA in areas such as delivery times, contract conditions, equipment quality and cost, Ericsson noted. While the two technologies are on a par – in consumers' eyes – when it comes to network performance, including speed, indoor coverage, security and capacity.

However, satisfaction falls, relatively speaking, when looking at 4G-based FWA. In both the service and network areas, customers were less happy than with both fibre and 5G FWA.

That said, surely that's market segment that service providers need to put some effort into upgrading as 5G becomes more widespread.

"The study results validate household preferences for high-speed broadband and convenience supporting 5G FWA adoption," Yazlle said. "With 5G technology and networks in place, it is the right moment to capture this large opportunity with more than a billion underserved households and enterprises globally."

About the Author(s)

Mary Lennighan

Mary has been following developments in the telecoms industry for more than 20 years. She is currently a freelance journalist, having stepped down as editor of Total Telecom in late 2017; her career history also includes three years at CIT Publications (now part of Telegeography) and a stint at Reuters. Mary's key area of focus is on the business of telecoms, looking at operator strategy and financial performance, as well as regulatory developments, spectrum allocation and the like. She holds a Bachelor's degree in modern languages and an MA in Italian language and literature.

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