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5G FWA is hot: 72% of global service providers are offering FWA, says Ericsson

5G FWA is hot: 72% of global service providers are offering FWA, says Ericsson

by Linda Hardesty | Jun 16, 2021 Fixed wireless access (FWA) is hot among service providers worldwide, according to Ericsson’s 2021 Mobility Report, which was published today. About 72% of all service providers are now offering FWA, as of April 2021. And connections are forecast to exceed 180 million by the end of 2026, accounting for more than 20% of total mobile network data traffic globally. Ericsson defines FWA as “a connection that provides primary broadband access through wireless wide area mobile network enabled customer premises equipment. This includes various form factors of CPEs, such as indoor (desktop and window) and outdoor (rooftop and wall mounted). It does not include portable battery-based Wi-Fi routers or dongles.” FWA was especially propelled by the Covid pandemic because people immediately needed better home broadband connectivity. “FWA is, in many cases, the quickest alternative to meet this demand,” stated the Mobility Report. Ericsson looked at the retail packages offered by service providers worldwide and found that out of the 311 service providers studied, 224 had an FWA offering, which represents an average of 72% globally. Service providers’ adoption of FWA offerings has increased by 12 percentage points during the last six months, and more than doubled since the first measurements in December 2018. Those service providers providing 5G are at the forefront of FWA adoption. About 87% of service providers that have launched 5G also have an FWA offering. This is a substantially higher adoption of FWA compared to service providers that have not yet launched 5G (62%). The high adoption rate of FWA is also prevalent in countries with a high fiber penetration. Replacement for DSL In addition to the need for better broadband driven by the pandemic, FWA is also seen as an increasingly cost-efficient replacement to fixed services such as DSL, cable and fiber. And governments are helping to fuel the growth of FWA through programs and subsidies, as they scramble to close their digital divides. Ericsson said it had to deal with “limited reporting of FWA connections, combined with varying FWA definitions,” but it estimates that there were more than 60 million FWA connections by the end of 2020. This number is forecast to grow more than threefold through 2026, exceeding the 180 million connections threshold. MaxComm Taiwan has launched a variety models of 4G/5G FWA and FWT. Please take a look at our web site at : https://www.4gltecpe.com/5g-cpe-router.htm

Global 5G future at risk if 6GHz spectrum is not licensed: GSMA

Global 5G future at risk if 6GHz spectrum is not licensed: GSMA

The GSM Association (GSMA) has called on governments to license the 6GHz band for fifth-generation or 5G networks if they aspire to realize the full capabilities of the next-generation technology. “It is estimated that 5G networks need 2GHz of mid-band spectrum over the next decade to deliver on its full potential,” it said. It has further urged governments to make at least 6425-7125 MHz available for licensed 5G; to ensure backhaul services are protected; and added that the bottom half of the 6GHz range at 5925-6425 MHz could be opened on a license-exempt basis with technology-neutral rules. According to the association, the mid-band spectrum is essential for mobile operators to deliver affordable connectivity for social inclusion, as well as, to provide data speeds and capacity necessary for smart cities, transport, and factories. “5G has the potential to boost the world’s GDP by $2.2 trillion,” said John Giusti, Chief Regulatory Officer for the GSMA. “But there is a clear threat to this growth if sufficient 6GHz spectrum is not made available for 5G. Clarity and certainty are essential to fostering the massive, long-term investments in this critical infrastructure.” GSMA’s statement comes in the wake of divergent approaches to the 6GHz band taken by governments across the world. For instance, China, according to GSMA, will use the entire 1200 MHz in the 6GHz band for 5G, while Europe has split the band, with the upper part reserved for 5G, and a new 500MHz tranche has been made available for Wi-Fi. Africa and parts of the Middle East are taking a similar approach. On the other hand, the U.S. and much of Latin America have said that the spectrum band will be offered to Wi-Fi and other unlicensed technologies, instead of 5G. To be sure, the World Radiocommunication Conference in 2023 will provide the opportunity to harmonize the 6GHz band across large parts of the planet and help develop the ecosystem, it added.

Ericsson signs standalone 5G deal with Swisscom

Ericsson signs standalone 5G deal with Swisscom

by Bevin Fletcher | May 3, 2021 5:02pm Ericsson on Monday inked an expanded 5G deal with Swisscom that includes transitioning the operator’s 5G network to standalone (SA) mode. Swisscom plans to use Ericsson’s cloud-native dual-mode 5G core, with the inclusion of a container-based cloud packet core and cloud data management and policy. The Swedish vendor’s 5G radio gear is also part of the deal, with Swisscom tapping 5G NR carrier aggregation and 5G RAN slicing technologies. Network slicing is one the features of moving to SA 5G that operators are looking toward as a potential way to drive revenues and new business models. It enables a portion, or “slice”, of the network to be isolated and resources dedicated to deliver on customer-specific needs like bandwidth or latency. Just last month Ericsson helped Vodafone activate a standalone 5G network in Germany. And T-Mobile in the U.S. had one of the first nationwide SA 5G deployments, launched in August of last year. The strategic partnership with Swisscom calls for increased automation, designs powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, cognitive software to help optimize the network, and cloud native infrastructure over the next three years. With these capabilities, Ericsson said customers can tap faster 5G speeds, reduced latencies and the aforementioned network slicing benefit.   “Together, we have been first in Europe to turn on 5G commercially and have proven your technological leadership and our innovation capability,” stated Mark Düsener, head of Mobile & Mass Market Communication at Swisscom. “This new deal confirms our joint commitment to follow this path and to further accelerate the development of 5G technology." Swisscom and Ericsson have been 5G partners since 2017 and in April 2019 launched Europe’s first commercial 5G network. By December 2019, the 5G non-standalone (NSA) network covered 90% of Switzerland’s population with help from dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) and reached 96% as of last month.     As the partners start to move Swisscom’s network to SA 5G, where it no longer relies on 4G LTE as an anchor, one of their achievements was an SA 5G voice and data call over a commercial network in Bern. While 5G promises to handle data-intensive applications, more basic functions like native voice are still a key need when moving to a strictly 5G architecture. The Voice over New Radio (VoNR) calls used smartphones from Oppo, including the Find X2 Pro and the Reno 4Z 5G. They also utilized Ericsson radio, core and IMS products IMS is necessary for both 4G LTE voice and standalone 5G) deployed on the Ericsson NFVI cloud infrastructure solution.  This year CHIP network testing of Swisscom and other operator networks looked at both lower-band 5G with DSS and faster capabilities with new 3.6 GHz spectrum. Swisscom measured 60.4% 5G availability in the urban areas tested, compared to operator Sunrise at 45.3%. For measurements testing 3.6 GHz 5G, on average Swisscom delivered speeds of 293 Mbps, coming in second behind Sunrise (381 Mbps) and ahead of Salt (287 Mbps). As new 5G services continue come online, Swisscom said farewell to its legacy 2G network, with a final shut off in mid-April. According to the operator, less than 0.03% of traffic was transmitted by 2G at the end of 2020. In other Ericsson 5G news Monday, Iceland’s Síminn picked the Swedish vendor as its 5G RAN supplier, following successful trials. Síminn plans to eventually deploy mid-band 3.5-3.6 GHz spectrum for its 5G service, but is starting with legacy low-band to initially reach broader coverage. The operator is targeting nationwide 5G coverage y the end of 2022.

T-Mobile’s Ulf Ewaldsson says ‘time has come’ for fixed wireless

T-Mobile’s Ulf Ewaldsson says ‘time has come’ for fixed wireless

The panelists on a FierceWireless session at this week's CCA Mobile Show were pretty stoked about the opportunities for fixed wireless access (FWA) to disrupt the home broadband market. Ulf Ewaldsson, T-Mobile’s chief network officer, said, “The dream of FWA has been around for 30-40 years, and having the ability to provide a true broadband connection to a home using wireless is something that’s been worked at for many, many years. I think 5G actually gives us the opportunity to do it.” He said T-Mobile feels confident that it can provide a nationwide FWA service because of its spectrum position with its “layer-cake” of high, low and mid-band spectrum. T-Mobile is targeting 7 million to 8 million subs in this category within five years. RELATED: Verizon, T-Mobile get ready to rumble with cable In terms of rural America, Ewaldsson said, “With the merger, we have enormous commitments from the FCC and DoJ to provide coverage where there is just simply not enough. If we can provide an advantage with a combination of mid-band and low-band spectrum that gives speeds that can be used for a home broadband service, that is a big market.” He also noted that in the cable space there is a “de-coupling” of broadband from television services. Many consumers are choosing over-the-top video rather than cable, and they’re open to choosing a separate broadband provider, which gives a new opportunity to FWA providers “This is the time,” he said. “Now is a good opportunity for carriers to go after this market.” FWA offers rural and urban opportunity Michael Irizarry, CTO at U.S. Cellular, said the company serves a lot of rural and suburban communities. “We have found that many are dissatisfied with their internet service offerings,” said Irizarry. “It’s not reliable, and the speeds aren’t there.” U.S. Cellular has offered, for a couple of years now, a broadband service to the home based on 4G. Irizarry said the carrier is testing a higher speed version of its FWA product on mmWave spectrum this year to augment its current service. It may eventually market a 5G version of its FWA. In terms of mmWave, he said the technology to tap the spectrum has come a long way. “When it was first launched by Verizon, I think the ranges were in the order of 500-900 meters,” said Irizarry. “We’ve been testing with Ericsson, Nokia, Qualcomm and some of the handset folks. MmWave for the home ranges up to 5 kilometers. I do think there’s a place for wireless to offer competitive offerings to the existing fixed broadband offerings.” Jasmeet Sethi, head of the consumer lab at Ericsson, said “Everybody’s betting on home wireless broadband. One opportunity is to fix the rural broadband gap. And this market by itself is quite attractive because this is new revenue. In addition, we also see there is a demand in urban markets especially among cord cutters.” He reiterated Ewaldsson’s comments about de-coupling broadband from television services. Sethi said many cable customers are paying monthly amounts in the range of $140 to $160, and they’d like to cut the cord. “They are likely to go into a 5G fixed wireless access offering bundled with a 5G TV proposition,” said Sethi. Ericsson forecasts about 11-12 million people will subscribe to 5G FWA by 2025, and about 26 million will subscribe by 2030. A little cold water on FWA Nathan Sutter is director of network operations and engineering at Nex-Tech Wireless, a small wireless provider in Kansas. Sutter said, “We’ve had, in Kansas, a lot of really good luck with providers getting fiber to the home. The amount of spectrum required to compete with a fiber-to-the-home offering puts wireless at a pretty strong competitive disadvantage.” Nex-Tech is focused on providing service to people who don’t have access to it. The company purchased priority access licenses (PALs) in last summer’s CBRS spectrum auction, and it’s using that spectrum for its FWA offerings. But Sutter said, “We’ve found wireless and home fixed replacement to be sort of a symbiotic relationship, but it sort of starts to become an Ouroboros, where it’s consuming itself. We have not had good luck with co-located mobility and fixed wireless spectrum. I think it requires two different things and two different spectrum propagation characteristics. Fixed wireless access for us has been more of a point-to-point scenario where mobility operates much better in a vacuum by itself.” There are plenty of people who are saying FWA doesn’t have the capacity to provide really good broadband coverage in rural areas. Many of these same folks are upset that so many FWA providers won Rural Digital Opportunity Funds (RDOF) in the December RDOF auction. RELATED: WISPA claps back at fixed-wireless critics in RDOF dispute The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) filed a letter with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in February, responding to what it calls “unwarranted criticism leveled at certain winners of the RDOF Phase I auction, and the RDOF process as a whole.” “WISPs operate across a range of frequencies, from TV White Space up through the millimeter wave bands, and while not all of these spectrum bands are capable of delivering gigabit services, that does not rule out provision of such services in many targeted areas,” stated WISPA.

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