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Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) is becoming increasingly popular as a 5G application for communication service providers (CSPs) worldwide. Industry findings show a significant rise in the number of CSPs offering this service over the past year.

The downlink and uplink data capabilities of 5G FWA, comparable to those of cable or fiber, have fueled nearly a 50 percent increase in the number of service providers offering 5G FWA speed-based plans over the past year. Now, 40 percent of all FWA CSPs provide these speed-based tariffs.

Currently, FWA is the second most popular 5G use case, following enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB). Notably, about 300 CSPs globally now offer 5G services, of which about 50 have launched 5G Standalone (5G SA).

5G Subscription Growth

In terms of subscriptions, 5G is continuing to grow across all regions. About 160 million 5G subscriptions were added globally in the first three months of 2024, bringing the total to more than 1.7 billion. Almost 600 million new subscription additions are expected in 2024 as a whole.

Researchers estimate that 5G subscriptions will be close to 5.6 billion by the end of 2029, with global 5G population coverage beyond mainland China set to double from 40 percent at the end of 2023 to 80 percent by the end of 2029.

5G is expected to account for about 60 percent of all mobile subscriptions by the end of 2029. ICT vendors such as Huawei have continued to invest in the R&D of network APIs, exploring new services, accelerating the development FWA and improving O&M efficiency.

Telecom Review Industry Insights: 1.7 Billion 5G Subscriptions Achieved in Q1 2024, Strong Momentum in MEA

In February, UAE operator, du, and Huawei signed an MoU to develop FWA services and aid in the advancement of commercial 5G-Advanced networks with the aim of accelerating the incubation of commercial application.

The findings predict that by the end of 2029, North America will have the highest penetration of 5G subscriptions, with 90 percent (or 430 million) of all subscriptions expected to be 5G.

In India, 5G subscriptions are expected to grow from 119 million at the end of 2023 (about ten percent of all mobile subscriptions in the country) to approximately 840 million (65 percent of all subscriptions) by the end of 2029.

Read More: Nokia Expects 5G Subscriptions in MEA To Exceed 64% by 2026

Increasing Mobile Network Data Traffic

Regarding user experience, statistics from a leading service provider show that 97 percent of all user activities on 5G mid-band achieved a time-to-content of less than 1.5 seconds, compared to 67 percent on 5G low-band and 38 percent on 4G (all bands).

5G mid-band population coverage outside of mainland China has reached 35 percent while North America and India have made rapid deployments, topping 85 and 90 percent mid-band coverage respectively.

The latest findings show that the year-on-year growth in mobile network data traffic has been adjusted downwards from what was reported in November 2023 . This change occurred because regulators and service providers in populous markets reported lower numbers for the second half of 2023.

Mobile network data traffic grew 25 percent year-on-year between the end of March 2023 and the end of March 2024, driven primarily by subscriber migration to later generations and data-intense services, such as video.

Mobile data traffic is forecast to grow with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 20 percent through the end of 2029. By the end of 2023, approximately a quarter of all mobile network data was handled by 5G. This share is expected to increase to about 75 percent by the end of 2029.

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