FWA to exceed 460 million subscriptions by 2030

  • 4G and 5G FWA subscriptions will reach around 462 million by 2030.
  • 5G FWA will have a CAGR of 54% between 2022 and 2030
  • Global FWA CPE cumulative revenues to reach $200 billion between 2022-2030.

Buenos Aires, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Seoul, London, Beijing, San Diego – June 30, 2022

As 5G takes center stage, the new 5G network architectures and broader spectrum promises enhanced broadband services at a scale not possible in previous generations. Many developing economies as well as parts of developed economies still suffer from a digital divide with many unable to access broadband connectivity. We believe 5G-enabled Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) is a killer use-case for bridging this digital divide and providing connectivity where fiber or even DSL has not yet reached. We estimate the total FWA broadband subscriptions to climb to around 462 million by 2030 from roughly 75 million in 2021. 5G FWA will drive the bulk of the growth beyond 2025 replacing 4G FWA connections that will be still prevalent in some markets across MEA, developing Asia and Latin America until 2024.

LISTEN: 5G FWA Update – Connecting Next Half Billion Households


Commenting on the market dynamics, Principal Analyst Tina Lu said “By the end of 2021, only one out of every three households around the world (excluding China) had access to fixed broadband. And only 25% of those households enjoyed speeds greater than 100 Mbps. With the growing work-from-home and hybrid working and learning trends, a stable, fast and high-capacity connection has become imperative.

“In light of that, we are seeing a significant push from operators and even governments to prioritize national broadband initiatives with 5G FWA becoming integral to their 5G rollout strategies. For example, the launch of T-Mobile 5G Home Internet service in the US to provide high-speed broadband across USA trying to bridge gaps and challenge cable monopolies. Similarly, Optus in Australia has been aggressively rolling out FWA services since the beginning of 2021. Furthermore, several MNOs across Europe and the Middle East, are seeing rising adoption for 5G FWA”.

Speaking about the 5G FWA momentum and outlook, Ms Lu added, “The US is currently the single biggest 5G FWA market, with both Verizon and T-Mobile being bullish on 5G FWA with mmWave rollouts ideal for dense urban connectivity, and sub-6GHz spectrum driving broader coverage and above average throughput speeds. European operators, especially in UK and Spain are still pushing to increase fiber broadband infrastructure, thus delaying the rollout of 5G FWA networks. But the last-mile connection to fiber is very costly in rural areas, which opens the need for 5G FWA. Africa, India, and other South Asian countries (excluding China), on the other hand, have the lowest fiber penetration and thus have the most potential to drive the 5G FWA subscriber growth this decade. Latin America will also see 5G FWA services launch in the next few years to drive home broadband penetration.”


Key FWA and CPE Insight Dashboard

FWA CPE Dashboard Forecast ASP growth regions

Source: Counterpoint Research Global 5G FWA-CPE Forecast Ecosystem April 2022

Commenting on the demand and supply across the ecosystem, Senior Research Analyst Parv Sharma said, “It has been a double-edged sword the last couple of years for 5G FWA adoption. While the pandemic accelerated the demand for broadband connectivity, but it also put serious pressure on MNOs CAPEX budgets slowing down 5G rollouts. The supply chain issues exacerbated the situation as the average 5G CPE prices remained in the US$500-$700 range, well-above mass market levels.

Further, the US is currently driving both sub-6GHz and 5G mmWave FWA services together with Australia, Italy, and a few Middle Eastern operators. As a result, the initial 5G CPEs ASPs have been higher.

However, the supply chain issues are expected to moderate in the second half of 2022. Further, 5G CPE prices should hit mainstream levels by mid-2023 and mass market levels by the end of 2024 supported by a growing ecosystem of CPE vendors’ from Arcadyan, Casa Systems, Askey, Inseego, Nokia, Ericsson, TCL, Wistron, ZTE and other emerging Chinese vendors, all supported by chipset solutions from Qualcomm, MediaTek and UNISOC. With greater scale and the maturation of the 5G technologies, we expect the ASP to taper quickly after 2025, driving adoption even in low ARPU markets such as India and Africa which face a significant digital divide.

For more insight, please follow this link to listen to the podcast on 5G FWA Update


Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It serves major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.


Analyst Contacts:

Tina Lu

Parv Sharma

Neil Shah

Counterpoint Research







5G包含丰富的元素,可以为网络运营商带来全新的业务能力。在5G网络部署的初期,运营商普遍选择了5G NSA非独立组网模式,即依托4G EPC核心网来承载新的5G NR业务。而毫米波(6GHz-110GHz)结合包括调制解调、信道编码、波束成形、天线分集在内的先进通信技术,将能在NSA向SA独立组网平滑过渡、回传网络升级和构建5G密集网络的过程中发挥重要的作用。


更多频谱应用于5G能推动5G 愿景的实现,同时释放更多的商业价值。例如,在sub-6GHz频段,5G可以提供良好的覆盖和高速网络连接,而如果将其与丰富的毫米波频段相结合,网络能力将得到全方位的提升,如多千兆级别的吞吐量、更高的容量或低于10毫秒的业务延迟,从而使能一系列创新应用场景的部署。升级后的网络在具备广覆盖优势的同时,为人口密集区域提供超大的带宽和极致的用户体验。同时,毫米波的加入还将改善网络的整体效能。在特定场景下,基于毫米波的5G SA网络表现甚至好于5G sub-6GHz NR网络,而两者的结合往往意味着更出色的网络能力。




5G Needs All Spectrum Bands

在每一次技术迭代中,电信运营商最关心的始终是如何从巨额投资中获得回报。其投资主要包括面向网络基础设施的资本支出、取得频谱的成本以及网络维护和运营所需的费用。在2G、3G、4G时代,投资回报很大程度上取决于移动终端的普及速度。与此同时,围绕消费者的移动业务也从最初的实时通信发展到数字内容消费,再到移动金融、线上购物等。凭借着更加丰富、多样的频谱资源,并结合包括AI人工智能、IoT物联网、云计算、边缘计算区块链在内的多种前沿技术,5G的大带宽将为移动业务每用户平均收入(ARPU)收入的提升带来新的机遇,并推动企业和社会的数字化转型。而融入数字化转型的浪潮能帮助电信运营商开启新的业务增长点,收回在毫米波频谱、5G SA核心网络和相关技术方面的投资。

GSMA-I(GSMA Intelligence)近期的一项研究表明,毫米波在某些应用场景下有明显优势,如人口密集的城市、室内部署和固定无线接入,部署毫米波可以显著降低5G网络总拥有成本(TCO),最终帮助运营商加快收回投资。在这些场景下,相比3.5GHz网络,使用毫米波或毫米波+ 3.5GHz网络的用户消费的数据更多。在中国和欧洲,实验表明部署毫米波频段能够为运营商节省可观的成本。

mmWave Enables Lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

此外,随着开放无线接入网(Open RAN)技术(参见此处)的兴起,电信运营商能够以更为灵活的方式组建网络,减少对传统大型网络设备供应商的依赖,并大大节省5G NR毫米波网络的部署支出,进而优化网络的总拥有成本。

例如:在日本,快速崛起的电信运营商乐天移动一直致力于建设革命性的虚拟化、云原生5G网络,并在毫米波(28GHz)频段实现了低成本高效率的5G网络部署,开始引领5G Open RAN的商用。乐天移动正在建设近8000个5G站点,其接入网络包括AirSPAN毫米波分布式射频单元(dRU),基于高通5G RAN平台FSM100xx(可为小型基站提供调制解调器—射频系统的端到端解决方案)的小型基站,以及虚拟化的分布处理单元vDU。乐天移动称构建全新的5G毫米波网络与直接采用传统供应商设备相比,设施成本降低了60%。

Rakuten 5G mmWave RAN Solutions


  • 三星旗舰手机Galaxy Note 20 Ultra毫米波版的BoM成本比sub-6GHz版仅高出10%(参见此处)。
  • iPhone 12是今年最畅销的5G手机,其毫米波版与sub-6GHz版的成本差距也远低于预期,这使苹果能够在iPhone 12和iPhone 12 Pro系列中增加OLED、UWB等重要组件(参见此处)。
  • FWA是5G毫米波的一个重要应用场景, Counterpoint预测未来十年5G FWA CPE的销量可能超过10亿(参见此处)。 成本方面,毫米波版CPE与sub-6GHz版CPE的差距也在缩小。
  • 毫米波终端成本的下降也为运营商加快商用5G NR 毫米波服务提供了更为有利的局面。




5G mmWave: Ecosystem & Economics Becoming Attractive (Part 1)

Read the part 2 of 5G mmWave: Ecosystem, Economics Becoming Attractive here.

Change is in the air. COVID-19 has wrought massive changes on how people work, learn and interact. New technology can enable the accelerated changes caused by the pandemic to become a positive transformation with benefits accruing in many directions.

While 5G  is a key to unlocking part of this potential transformation, concerns have been raised about the role of mmWave and whether the time is right to roll-out the highest frequencies within the 5G family. We believe that mmWave will be a cornerstone to the success of 5G – though not without challenges.

5G is a Spectrum Game

The success of 5G is a function of the combinations of spectrum used. The promise of building robust, scalable, high-speed, low-latency, and high-capacity networks is based on how astutely communications service providers (CSPs) can leverage one of their most valuable assets, the radio spectrum. This holds true for 5G and will apply equally to future networks such as 6G.

The benefits of 5G compound through the adoption of different elements. Adding 5G NR to an existing network in a Non-Standalone (NSA) architecture gets CSPs out of the starting blocks. But moving to a standalone (SA) core network, faster backhaul and network densification enable more of the 5G promise to be realized. The key driver, however, will be the use of a higher-order spectrum (6GHz-110GHz) coupled with advanced modulation, channel coding, beamforming, antenna diversity, and other techniques.

5G mmWave Value Proposition is Unmatched

As 5G expands to use a wider range of frequencies in combination, it enables greater value. For example, 5G in a limited slice of the sub-6GHz spectrum provides good coverage and faster speeds, but it will not offer gigabit level throughputs, higher capacity, or sub-10ms latencies. However, combine that sub-6 GHz spectrum with a much larger tranche of mmWave spectrum and a variety of deployment scenarios become possible, such as mixing catering to high peak traffic loads in dense urban areas, while meeting broader coverage needs. This enables greater efficiencies throughout the network. Even a 5G standalone with mmWave layer can be better than a 5G standalone sub-6GHz network in certain use-cases, although a combination of them both is usually even better.

Applications enabled by 5G will include 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), Cloud Gaming leveraging 5G MEC (Multi-Access Edge Computing) technology to 5G NR Network Sliced Private Networks, XR applications, and more.

5G is defined by its three primary dimensions: throughput, capacity in terms of a number of connected devices, and latency). mmWave spectrum plays a key role in enabling all three. Put simply, if these are the 5G cake, mmWave is the icing on the top.

5G mmWave Cost Economics. Outlook is Impressive Across the Value Chain.

5G mmwave Benefits - Counterpoint ResearchWith every generation, the biggest question CSPs look at is the returns on the investments for new generation network infrastructure CAPEX, cost of spectrum, and the OPEX to maintain and run the network. 2G, 3G, 4G ROI was largely dependent on the availability of mobile devices that drove a massive wave of personal transformation from real-time communication to rich content consumption to on-the-go commerce and more. The integration of broad-spectrum 5G and adjacent technologies AI, IoT, Cloud, Edge Computing, Blockchain, etc) will unlock new ARPU opportunities enabling new waves of enterprise and social transformation not previously possible.

These new waves will enable CSPs to recoup the investment in mmWave spectrum, 5G SA core networks, and adjacent technologies.

An interesting recent study highlights the ability of mmWave 5G in different scenarios including dense urban areas, indoor deployments, and FWA to reduce the overall Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) significantly which can help accelerate the ROI for operators eventually. These were scenarios where more connected users, consuming more data on the mmWave only or mmWave + 3.5GHz network vs a 3.5GHz only network. This was tested in China and Europe with both showing promising savings for the operators when the mmWave spectrum is deployed.

Further, with the rise of Open RAN networks (see here) and clever approaches to working with the telecoms supply chain, the CAPEX for deploying a 5G NR mmWave network deployment can be cut significantly, boosting the TCO. For example:

Japan’s fast-growing CSP Rakuten is disrupting the market by building out a highly cost-effective 5G in mmWave (28GHz) network. It is deploying almost 8000 sites using AirSPAN mmWave distributed Radio Unit (dRU) small cell, utilizing the Qualcomm 5G RAN platform (FSM100xx) for a complete Modem-RF system-level solution for small cells, combined with a vDU in a holistic solution.  Rakuten is claiming the 5G mmWave network infrastructure implementation is 60% cheaper than traditional systems working directly with vendors.

In devices, according to our BoM Cost Analysis, the delta between a mmWave and a sub-6GHz only smartphone is narrowing fast. For example:

  • The flagship Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra mmWave variant costs a mere 10% more than the sub-6 GHz variant in terms of total component costs (see here).
  • For becoming the most popular and best-selling 5G phone this year, iPhone 12, the cost delta between the mmWave version and sub-6GHz is quite lower than expected, which gave Apple to add other important components such as OLED, UWB across the lineup from iPhone 12 to iPhone 12 Pro series. (see here).
  • With respect to 5G CPE, our research shows 5G FWA is a significant opportunity with more than a billion 5G FWA CPEs likely to be sold over this decade (see here). The cost between a mmWave CPE vs sub-6GHz only CPE has narrowed significantly, offering a great opportunity for CSPs to roll-out 5G NR mmWave networks without worrying about the mmWave-based device costs to impact user adoption.

5G mmWave Ecosystem & Economics no Longer a Bottleneck

While there remain challenges in migrating to 5G, there are promising economic indicators in the analysis of costs and potential benefits. Leading components vendors are already on their third generation of application processors and modems, infrastructure vendors are innovating to enable CSPs to rapidly enhance coverage. And handset vendors are rapidly bringing down the cost of 5G-capable smartphones.

Cost-benefit analyses are pointing to multiple ways in which CSPs can achieve lower TCO and greater ROI when deploying mmWave. As the standards mature, we expect more and more use cases will become possible and this will encourage many organizations to participate. We expect that by early- to mid-2022 we will see an inflection point for mmWave-based networks and devices that will help propagate the transformation is only just beginning.

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