Qualcomm updates 5G FWA platforms as operators ramp investment

AT&T, T-Mobile US, Verizon all expanding 5G FWA to capture consumer and enterprise businesses

Last week during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Qualcomm announced an update to its 5G Fixed Wireless Access Platforms to include support for Standalone 5G using mmWave frequencies, introduction of its RF Sensing technologies, and improvements that smooth the CPE self-installation process. This as the three U.S. Tier 1s tout 5G FWA as a key driver of new service revenues.

Qualcomm took an early lead in 5G mmWave and has kept it; the addition of support for Standalone 5G in high-band frequencies lets operates stand-up a 5G FWA service that, for the user, looks and feels like fiber-backed connectivity. The RF Sensing Suite lets the CPE essentially keep tabs on the radio and physical environment around it to conduct dynamic optimizations to support user experience.

In the U.S., Verizon announced last month a major expansion of its 5G FWA consumer and enterprise service with the activation of its C-Band spectrum. Verizon initially went to market with a 5G Home service using mmWave. During an investor’s event last week, the company said it has plans to become a nationwide broadband provider and sees 5G FWA as becoming the second biggest line of business behind mobility. AT&T and T-Mobile US are both working to expand the reach of their 5G FWA offerings with T-Mo focused on rural home broadband subscribers.

Qualcomm’s Durga Malldi, SVP and GM of 5G, mobile broadband and infrastructure, said the global COVID-19 pandemic, which drove major shifts to remote working and learning, “emphasized the need for affordable and reliable connectivity.” Similarly the 5G FWA market grew at a CAGR of almost 88%, according to research from Deloitte Insights.

“5G, including mmWave, is a universal last-mile technology,” Malladi said. “We are proud to support operators and OEMs worldwide to solve critical challenges including closing the stark digital divide with the roll-out of next-generation 5G networks.”

Qualcomm said that more than 40 OEMs with more than 125 FWA designs

To date, more than 40 OEMs with over 125 FWA designs announced or in development are using Qualcomm 5G Fixed Wireless Access Platforms.

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