Global growth in Fixed Wireless Access device shipments shaped by Covid-19 lockdowns and shift to home working

Global growth in Fixed Wireless Access device shipments shaped by Covid-19 lockdowns and shift to home working

Growth in 4G/5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) CPE shipments expected to accelerate in 2021, driven by increasingly wide availability of LTE and 5G-based services.

The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) today released the results of its first GSA 4G/5G FWA Forum device ecosystem survey.

Drawing on data from 25 device vendors across the 3GPP-based FWA CPE ecosystem, the data reveals strong market momentum with shipment growth expected to continue and accelerate in 2021 compared to 2020, with 31% growth for 4G/5G FWA CPEs and 23% growth for battery-operated hotspots.

In 2020, APAC (excluding China and India) represented the largest portion of the shipments, closely followed by Middle East and Africa, and then Europe. The association also announced today that there are now 43 companies in the GSA 4G/5G FWA Forum.

The survey confirms the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on changing work habits, with ‘work/study from home’ identified by CPE device vendors as the most important market trend for 2020 and 2021. However, as people around the world have gradually returned to their offices and schools in 2021, the launch of 5G services by operators has grown in importance as a driver of future growth in the FWA market.

Key takeaways from the GSA 4G/5G FWA Forum device ecosystem survey include:

  • Results from the first GSA 4G/5G FWA Forum device ecosystem survey covering 25 device vendors show strong momentum for the 3GPP-based FWA market
  • 4G/5G FWA CPE shipments of the participating Forum members in 2020 amounted to 22.9 million units, growing 18% compared to 2019. For 2021 the annual growth rate is expected to accelerate to 31.4%
  • Cumulative 4G/5G FWA CPE shipments for the responding Forum members in 2019–2021 add to 72.4 million units. This figure reaches 108.2 million including battery-operated hotspots
  • Device shipments in 2020 were predominantly on 4G/LTE, with about 5% of devices having 4G/LTE and 5G capabilities
  • CPE vendors highlight ‘work/study from home’ as the most relevant market trend for 2020 and 2021, showing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic

“Educating the industry about the FWA market has always been at the top of the GSA 4G/5G FWA Forum’s agenda,” said Julien Grivolas, Chairman of GSA 4G-5G FWA Forum. “So far, there has been a lack of market information about 4G/5G FWA device shipments and the associated customer base installed globally. That is why, as the GSA 4G/5G FWA Forum Chair, I am particularly pleased that, thanks to the support of 25 device vendors amongst our members, we have been able to produce this first annual survey report together. This is a significant milestone which will help industry players to better grasp the significance and growth of the 4G/5G FWA market.”

Joe Barrett, President of GSA, commented: “This report illustrates well what benefits the GSA 4G/5G FWA Forum and its members can bring to the industry. With the input from a growing Forum membership which now numbers 43, our organization works on a range of activities including an update of this report expected in H1 2022. As always, we are eager to see more companies joining us and contributing.”

25 CPE vendors of the GSA 4G/5G FWA Forum answered the first edition of the survey. We estimate that this is a significant representation of the 3GPP-based market. The vendors that participated in the survey were: Asiatelco Technologies Co., Askey, BEC Technologies, BLiNQ Networks, Casa Systems, Esound Technologies, Gosuncnwelink Technologies, Greenpacket, HaiIot Co., Huawei, Jaton Technology, MeiG Smart Technology, Mobot Mobile, Nokia, Notion InfoTech, Sichuan Changhong Network Technologies, Shenzhen Jointelli Technologies Co., SMAWave, TCL, Tigercel, Tozed Kangwei, Wavetel, WNC, YaoJin Technology, ZMTEL.

The full report is available for download here:

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