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Fixed Wireless Broadband Growth will Expand in 2017

Telecom service providers have been seeking new, less capital-intensive, ways to deliver broadband Internet access to homes. Advances in fixed wireless communications will create opportunities to reach new subscribers.

Exponential growth of 4G LTE coverage and capacity is driving wireless service growth for fixed broadband access, while fiber-to-the-home (FTTH), xDSL, and cable technologies reach nearly 50 percent of global households.

As the 5G standardization process approaches completion, the technology will significantly accelerate global fixed wireless deployments. The results, so far, from new service tests and trials have been encouraging.

Wireless Broadband Market Development

ABI Research forecasts worldwide fixed wireless broadband subscribers will grow at a 30 percent CAGR to top 151 million in 2022.

"The arrival of 5G technology will completely transform fixed wireless broadband network deployments," said Khin Sandi Lynn, analyst at ABI Research.

Recent trials demonstrate that the technology superior performance over 4G LTE will allow operators to deploy 5G for fixed wireless broadband service in densely populated areas. This is a huge plus for telecom service providers.

Currently, fixed LTE broadband access is mainly deployed in remote areas where fixed line infrastructure is not able to support broadband access, and/or it's not commercially feasible to deploy new wireline networks.

While government initiatives, high data transfer rates, and a large capacity are all attractive features for fixed LTE deployments now, fixed wireless broadband deployments will be further accelerated by their 5G successor in the years ahead.

Outlook for Wireless Broadband Deployments

Wireless network operators in the United States, such as AT&T and Verizon, have already announced plans to deliver broadband access to businesses and residential customers using 5G fixed wireless networks.

According to the ABI assessment, the incumbent service providers aim to begin 5G fixed wireless rollouts later in 2017. Moreover, alternative broadband service providers, such as Google Webpass, delivers up to 1 Gbps wireless broadband for $60 per month using different technologies.

"Superior capacity offered by 5G technology will benefit operators to deploy fixed wireless access in densely populated areas," concludes Lynn. "This will enable fiber-like broadband service to support bandwidth-hungry applications without the need to install fiber-optic cables to each premise."

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