The 5G Fixed Wireless Access Opportunity: Where Does It Fit Within Enterprise Services?

K. Weldon
K. Weldon

Summary Bullets:

  • In recent months, AT&T and Verizon have launched business services leveraging 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) that complement consumer versions introduced in 2019 or 2020.
  • We examine where these services fit into the rest of their business portfolios, how are they positioned, and potential pitfalls and competitive threats the operators need to look out for.

AT&T launched 5G FWA for businesses in March 2021, described as the “first nationwide business-focused broadband network.”  Customers can choose from Sierra Wireless or Ericsson/Cradlepoint routers and pay for either 50 or 100 Mbps speeds (on low-band 5G, as AT&T’s mmWave service is still limited).  The operator positions these services as fiber alternatives, where fiber may be unavailable, or hints that there may also be cases where customers may appreciate the speeds, flexibility, and easier provisioning of 5G.  It notes that it has 2.5 million business locations already served by fiber or wireless broadband (as LTE has been offered for two years) and the new 5G service offers equal control and security to fiber through closed, dedicated tunnels to the mobile network that are not accessible by other devices.  It is described as ideal for companies that have many distributed sites (such as large retailers), and along with fiber, these customers can count on AT&T for nationwide coverage.  AT&T usage examples include POS solutions for retailers, pop-up stores, and backup, with prioritization noted as an option.  AT&T has further launched an expanded portfolio with Cradlepoint that combines AT&T’s broadband network, data plans, and management with Cradlepoint’s 5G adapters, routers, and wireless WAN lifecycle management platform.  New vertical opportunities are noted by the partners; Cradlepoint offers a 5G mobile router for in-vehicle networks, as well as adapters that can integrate with AT&T’s SD-WAN service to position 5G as a primary connectivity option. Continue reading “The 5G Fixed Wireless Access Opportunity: Where Does It Fit Within Enterprise Services?”