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Introduction

The push for broadband connectivity in underserved and remote rural areas and the need to fill gaps ‎in urban/suburban wireline broadband coverage are creating renewed interest in the use of fixed ‎wireless access systems.

Highlights

  • FWA does not provide fast network monetization for the rural unconnected. ‎Unfortunately, our models do not show fast monetization using FWA in rural ‎scenarios regardless of subscriber ARPU.‎
  • FWA can be financially viable for urban/suburban areas. Numerous ‎urban/suburban scenarios show network monetization at under 10 years, and many come in at ‎under five years. While five years is a long time in the wireless market, it is ‎fast compared to many wireline broadband access scenarios.‎
  • Operators should evaluate FWA based on their respective situations and ‎strategies. This requires detailed analysis of respective service areas and ‎potential new businesses, such as the entry of traditional wireline operators into the FWA market. ‎Access equipment vendors will need to support their CSP customers regarding FWA ‎versus wireline broadband analysis and solutions.

Features and Benefits

  • Assesses FWA network monetization for urban, suburban, and rural household densities and across various bandwidth speeds and subscriber ARPUs and provides key monetization model results, including best-case and worse-case scenarios.
  • Analyzes the impact of various parameters on FWA network monetization, such as microwave versus fiber-based MBH, indoor versus outdoor antennas at customer premises, and spectrum costs.
  • Compares upgrade paths for wireline-based and FWA-based broadband-to-the-home solutions and assesses subscriber expectations for broadband-to-the home.
  • Analyzes how CSPs and vendors should approach the FWA broadband-to-the-home opportunity.
  • Analyzes the role of regulators in FWA.

Key questions answered

  • Is FWA a financially sound approach for rural broadband? Will it answer the need to connect the massive number of rural households around the world?
  • Where does FWA make sense in terms of network monetization? Which factors impact monetization the most?
  • How does FWA monetization compare to FTTP? How do they compare when business customers and services are considered?
  • What should CSPs consider when evaluating the FWA opportunity for broadband-to-the home? How should wireless operators approach this market? How should wireline operators approach this market? How should integrated operators approach this market?
  • What should communications equipment vendors do to support this market opportunity?

Table of contents

Summary

  • In brief
  • Ovum view
  • Recommendations for service providers
  • Recommendations for equipment vendors
  • Recommendations for governments and regulators

FWA vs. FTTP network monetization

  • Why delve into FWA network monetization?
  • The definitions – what’s included and what’s not
  • The network monetization models
  • FWA vs. FTTP network monetization

FWA network monetization

  • Monetization can be superb, but details matter
  • Key sensitivity factors: Focusing on suburban scenarios in developed countries
  • FWA does not provide fast monetization in rural areas – even in developed countries

Other key factors to consider

  • Bandwidth-proofing the network
  • Support for business services
  • QoE matters in broadband-to-the-home services

CSPs and FWA

  • Benefits to operators

Role of communications equipment vendors

  • An FWA strategy is important – even a “no-go” strategy
  • The future – what to pay attention to

Appendix

  • Methodology
  • Further reading
  • Authors

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