Saturday, 30 May 2020

GSA forms working group to back Fixed Wireless Access

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Thursday 07 May 20

Fixed wireless access (FWA) technology is slowly improving, but the GSA feels it needs wider support to become a more viable option for operators

The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) has today launched a new working group to coordinate industry initiatives to deliver fixed wireless access.   “As technology has improved, operators have been turning to mobile networks to deliver home and office broadband services…

The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) has today launched a new working group to coordinate industry initiatives to deliver fixed wireless access.  

“As technology has improved, operators have been turning to mobile networks to deliver home and office broadband services, in some cases offering mobile-based services as an alternative to fixed-line broadband technologies,” explained GSA president Joe Barrett.

“The home/office broadband services on offer are no longer limited to mobile data subscriptions associated with mobile phones, dongles, or even MiFi devices. They now include use of mobile technology to provide the main broadband connection for a home or business in the form of a fixed wireless access services. In a relatively short space of time, fixed wireless broadband access has become a mainstream service offer and the formation of this new GSA Working Group is testament to the acceleration in industry activity in Fixed Wireless Access.”

Initial members of the working group include five of the biggest hardware companies: Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia, Samsung, and ZTE, with further membership available to all GSA members. 

FWA was originally considered as an alternative to traditional broadband networks, but encouraging any operator to move away from familiar methods in favour of the new technology seems increasingly unlikely.

Nonetheless, FWA can have a place in the modern connectivity ecosystem, especially when it comes to rural areas that are typically prohibitively expensive to offer broadband using fibre. Operators have been struggling to find cost-effective ways of reaching these populations in various ways, with some even investing in satellite solutions; FWA could ultimately prove a more attractive alternative.

Alongside its launch, the GSA announced the results of a study into FWA availability around the world. The results show that availability varied widely, but 395 operators in 164 countries offered FWA based on LTE. When it comes to the 73 operators who have launched 5G around the world, 30 of these offer 5G-based FWA services.

 

Also in the news:
Virgin Media and O2 strike £31bn merger, shaking BT
BT suspends £2.5bn dividend in wake of pandemic
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