Global 5G Survey: Fixed Wireless Access, Top Connected Home Consumer Use Cases

Among the 82 global mobile operators surveyed by Kagan, some 29% have already deployed 5G-based FWA services or plan to do so later this year. Another 40% plan to deploy FWA in 2023.

In the United States, AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc., T-Mobile US Inc. and United States Cellular Corp. deployed fixed wireless services, which became the bright spot in the US broadband market in the second quarter of 2022. T-Mobile and Verizon recorded triple-digit annual growth rates, largely attributed to 5G-based deployments in the high-capacity mid-band spectrum. In total, the FWA space grew by 64% last quarter to 4.1 million, already exceeding our 2022 fixed wireless year-end forecast of 4.7 million.

FWA service deployments and deployment times are quite similar between carriers in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific region. While a significant number of operators surveyed have already deployed FWA, just over 40% of operators are waiting until 2023. A small fraction of operators surveyed were unsure of their FWA deployment plan, but none have canceled their plans or decided not to pursue an FWA Deployment.

Although FWA benefits underserved markets, the vast majority of respondents said their 5G-based FWA deployment strategy is to expand their company’s 5G footprint and complement existing 5G services to enable additional income. Indeed, Verizon and T-Mobile are showing value by selling fixed wireless services at a discount when consumers also pay for their premium mobile plans.

This is the third year in which survey results have shown the connected home to be the No. 1 driver of 5G adoption at 82%, up slightly from 81. % in 2021. A connected home can include smart speakers, 5G streaming sticks, as well as security and automation. systems. Unsurprisingly, 68% of respondents cited residential wireline replacement as another key driver of consumer 5G adoption. The view that multiple 4K/8K video streaming is a key driver of 5G adoption has declined slightly from 68% in 2020 to 63% in 2022. This is likely due to the fact that 5G performance have improved and rollouts are taking place in previously lagging markets, such as Latin America and Africa, driving greater interest in services that can finally be activated today.

Respondents’ opinion of 5G-powered gaming as a consumption driver has increased significantly from 2020 to 2022. Cloud gaming has grown by 8 percentage points over the past two years, while gaming services at low latency increased by 6 percentage points. Some 79% of Latin American operator respondents indicated that low latency gaming is a key driver of consumer adoption, up from just 31% in 2021. 60% in 2022. In North America, carriers are investing in mobile edge computing and partnering with cloud service providers, such as Microsoft.

Enterprise 5G Drivers

Similar to the connected home, the connected city, or “smart city,” is expected to help attract business to 5G, according to the survey, with the largest percentage of total respondents choosing smart city applications as the main driver to 72%.

The strongest interest came from respondents from North America, Asia-Pacific and Europe. Smart city initiatives are already using, for example, urban sensors to collect data to reduce traffic jams or provide video surveillance. The adoption of such technology is driven not only by 5G, but also by smaller sensors capable of collecting the treasure trove of information that cities can use to analyze and create greater efficiency.

The second area of ​​focus is factory automation, with 68% of respondents expecting this sector to be a 5G driver and the strongest response from North America at 80% and Europe in second place at 75%. Industrial use cases, such as supply chain management and process manufacturing, are growing in these regions. The ability to analyze the massive amount of data in real time is important to business cost and efficiency.

Wireless Investor is a regular feature of Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence’s TMT offering, providing exclusive research and commentary.

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