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The worldwide Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) market will grow to $70 billion in revenue, with 180 million subscribers by 2026, according to a new fixed wireless growth forecast from ABI Research.

The report adds that 5G will be a major driver of the growth, with the 5G FWA market accounting for 40% of the market by the end of the forecast period. Verizon and T-Mobile are already starting 5G FWA deployments, and others will be undertaking projects as well, as operators take advantage of 5G technology to provide high-capacity FWA services, according to ABI.

ABI notes that 5G networks offer low latency and high speed that make them attractive options compared to fixed broadband services in those areas that don’t have fiber broadband. North America, with a large DSL user base, and Western Europe, with low FTTH penetration, provide significant opportunities for 5G providers, according to the research firm. However, ABI cautioned that potentially delayed 5G deployments will result in LTE being the dominant FWA service in the forecast period.

Most current 5G FWA deployments use mid-band spectrum, but the mmWave spectrum used by Verizon and others could make significant inroads because the higher bandwidth available in mmWave bands can support FWA broadband speed that are competitive to fiber and DOCSIS technologies, the research firm said.

“5G FWA services can be deployed faster and at a lower cost compared to installing Fiber to the Home (FTTH). Faster time-to-market at a lower CAPEX is the key advantage of FWA deployments to expand the service coverage and boost adoption,” said ABI Research analyst Khin Sandi Lynn, in a prepared statement about the fixed wireless growth forecast. “Forming FWA packages which fit bandwidth and data demand and bundling with value-added services can increase adoption rates. Service providers should also explore innovative services to capture revenue creating opportunities, such as cloud gaming, high resolution video streaming, [and] AR/VR based applications for entertainment and healthcare. The ability to offer such services can fuel demand for 5G FWA services as well as enable service providers to grow revenue.”

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