5G, FWA, WWAN: Inside the Ericsson Mobility Report

Top Business Tech takes a closer look at some of the takeaways from Ericsson’s 2021 Mobility Report.

The Ericsson Mobility Report has highlighted the rapid speed at which technology has evolved during the outbreak of Covid-19. A key focus is around the rollout of 5G, which is taking place at a much faster rate than its predecessors, 4G and 3G. With over 160 communication service providers launching 5G, Ericsson shares its forecasts for the rollout of the service, as well as the increase in fixed wireless access (FWA) services and the rise of the wireless wide-area network (WWAN).

Key statistics

By the end of 2021, there will be around 580 million 5G subscriptions

As it currently stands, North East Asia has the highest 5G subscription penetration, followed by North America. In addition, Mobile broadband subscriptions are on the rise, with over eight billion mobile subscriptions worldwide. As a result, Ericsson forecasts that there will be as much as 7.7 million smartphone subscriptions by the end of 2026, with 5G present in all regions by this forecast period. 

Over 70% of all service providers are now offering FWA services 

The ongoing pandemic has placed greater pressure on the need for reliable home broadband connectivity, and FWA is one of the fastest ways to achieve this demand. According to Ericcson, 90% of service providers that have launched a 5G offering also have an FWA offering. 

Large IoT technologies are expected to make up 46% of all cellular IoT connections

According to the report, about 120 service providers have commercially launched NB-IoT, and 55 have launched Cat-M. NB-IoT and Cat-M technologies complement each other, and approximately 40 service providers have launched both technologies.

Deploying 5G across three bands is allowing T-Mobile to build a wide-reaching network that covers all bases

Market-leading service provider T-Mobile is deploying a nationwide 5G network on multiple spectrum bands to provide a greater range of case uses. It started deploying 5G on a dedicated low-band spectrum (600MHz) at the end of 2019 and is planning to reach 90% of people in the US by 2022. Its mid-band spectrum (2.5GHz) deployment started in 2020 and is ongoing following its merger with Sprint. Mid-band has more capacity and speed than low-band and better building penetration than high-band. T-Mobile’s high-band is the third part of its strategy, where deployments started in the middle of 2019 in large metropolitan areas.

 WWAN is an increasing area of interest for enterprises looking for innovation

Wide-area network (WAN) has been quietly on the rise and can meet the rapidly evolving needs of the business. The new wave of WAN: wireless WAN (WWAN) is already underway with 4G networks and can meet the rising needs of enterprises such as the healthcare industry. According to Cradlepoint and IDG’s “The State of Wireless WAN 2020,” results from a recent online survey of 499 IT decision-makers in the US, Canada and the UK, 40% of organisations already have branch locations, vehicles, and IoT devices connected via their WAN. As the need for more flexible and secure network connectivity increases, be it as a primary or secondary link to connect fixed locations, WWAN is the most agile solution. In addition, there are other benefits of WWAN, such as overall reduced cost and minimising downtime and outages.


Ericsson’s report also looks at the following forecasts: 

  • Mobile subscriptions shifting towards 5G
  • 5G set to penetrate every region by 2026
  • 5G commercial launches drive FWA offerings
  • Consumers continue to embrace 5G devices
  • Broadband IoT set to overtake 2G and 3G
  • Mobile network traffic growth remains steady
  • Smartphones and video driving up mobile data traffic
  • 5G network coverage rising faster than 4G
  • The Gulf Cooperation Council countries: a closer look

Click here to discover the full report.

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Amber Donovan-Stevens

Amber is a Content Editor at Top Business Tech