Research insights
Expanding FWA services to spur 5G CPE demand, says Digitimes Research
Ashley Huang, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei

A growing number of Taiwan-based network equipment suppliers have ramped up shipments of 5G CPE (customer premise equipment) products to the markets in Europe and the US starting third-quarter 2020 and are poised to further expand their shipments in 2021, according to Digitimes Research.

Taiwanese makers will see profound business opportunities coming particularly from the US thanks to the US FCC providing substantial subsidies to encourage telecom operators to expand network construction in rural areas to replace the previous ones built using Huawei or ZTE gear.

The subsidies, which have been available under the CAF (Connect American Fund) initiation since 2015, are being used to encourage US telecom companies to expand their network coverage to help narrow the digital gap between urban and rual areas. Some telecom operators such as AT&T and Centurylink have adopted FWA (fixed wireless access) solutions, which are more cost effective and faster for deployment as compared to fiber or cable models, for their network rollouts in the rural areas. Related FWA services gained a boost in 2018 when FCC expanded the eligibility of subsidies to include midrange and small-scale telecom operators.

Due to an increasing reliance on services rendered via fixed networks in the wake of the pandemic, more traditional telecom operators, including Charter and Windstream have joined bids for securing CBRS (citizens broadband radio service) bands in order to expand their FWA services, which in turn is likely to drive up demand for CPE products.

As telecom operators are gearing up efforts seeking alternative solutions to replace those from Huawei and ZTE Digitimes Research believes CPE devices powered by solutions from MediaTek are likely to debut in 2021 and that Qualcomm may lower the prices of its related solutions to further stimulate the buying sentiment for CPE devices.

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