The world is going wireless and, apparently, that also includes broadband access.
In 2016, Google (News - Alert) Fiber said that it was putting its fiber access builds on hold and instead considering a shift to wireless. More recently, both AT&T and Verizon (News - Alert) have demonstrated a keen interest in 5G fixed wireless. In fact, both telcos have been doing 5G fixed wireless tests and recently asked the Federal Communications Commission for special temporary authority to do further tests, at 28GHz.
5G fixed wireless is interesting to AT&T (News - Alert) and Verizon, among others, because it could enable them to expand their broadband services much more quickly and cost effectively than they could do with fiber. According to a study released this month by SNS Telecom, 5G fixed wireless access is expected to reduce the initial cost of establishing last-mile connectivity by as much as 40 percent as compared to fiber-to-the-premises architectures.
SNS Telecom, in its report, also estimates that fixed wireless 5G services will generate about $1 billion in revenue by the end of 2019 – mostly for AT&T and Verizon. And it adds that revenue from these kinds of services are likely to see 84 percent compound annual growth between 2019 and 2025 –expected to surpass $40 billion.
If this happens according to plan, it will be a nice payoff for Verizon, whose CEO, Lowell McAdam (News - Alert), has commented that using 5G fixed wireless to expand its broadband internet and TV footprint could be done at a “miniscule” cost. In the same conversation, he reportedly said that using an FTTP architecture wouldn’t be feasible to expand its FiOS (News - Alert) services outside the Washington to Boston corridor.
Not only could 5G fixed wireless help avoid costly fiber access builds, it could also enable companies like AT&T and Verizon to defray the costs of their new 5G network builds. That will be important, Juniper Research noted in a recent report, given that average revenue per user for 5G from the Internet of Things will be “disappointing,” due to the low bandwidth requirements of most IoT endpoints.
Edited by Mandi Nowitz