One of the key use cases identified for 5G network technology is FWA (fixed wireless access) services. FWA is not a common service in India yet. With 4G networks, the telcos weren't too interested in offering FWA services, but with 5G, things are likely going to be very different. 5G networks have already started rolling out for consumers across India in a phased manner. Many industry experts have seen FWA being one of the main use cases of 5G in the consumer segment. But 5G FWA can also benefit enterprises when delivered on mmWave (millimetre wavelength) frequency band. But mmWave frequencies have a limitation of range.
To address this issue, Ericsson has talked about the 5G mmWave extended range. This is a breakthrough technology which redefines mmWave as a solution to deliver wide-area 5G coverage. Ericsson said that extended mmWave coverage is a technology which takes the reach of mmWave frequencies from a few hundred meters to seven kilometres.
India Has a Huge Digital Divide, Mainly Because Telcos Can't Deploy Fiber Everywhere at a Fast Pace
While the Indian government has put in its efforts to solve the RoW (Right of Way) problems for the telcos by converting the process completely online, transparent, and approval of applications in much lesser time than ever before, there are still many complexities. The numerous challenges that telcos face while deploying fiber in various parts of India creates the digital divide that exists in the country today.
Telecom service providers (TSPs) can leverage FWA using 5G new radio (NR) to address the issue of the digital divide. More importantly, the TSPs will be able to do so in a cost-effective manner in rural areas. The reason why telcos don't want to invest too aggressively in the rural areas of India is the fear of low returns and super high costs.
Thus, the telcos mostly stick with the urban cities or areas to offer services where they can recoup their investments fast. 5G FWA can be a cost-efficient and attractive alternative to fixed broadband in rural or outer areas of cities where huge fiber investments don't make a lot of sense for the TSPs.
On top of that, 5G mmWave extended-range technology can help telcos deliver everything consumers need at very low costs. We will not dive deep into the key methods for efficient fixed wireless access solutions, but we will talk about how 5G mmWave can be a solution to remove the digital divide.
Under FWA, telcos can deliver 5G services to consumers in rural areas by installing customer premises equipment (CPE) at their homes or offices without the need for fiber to reach each and every premise. This will definitely help the people in rural India to participate in the opportunities that the digital world presents in an equal manner as urban users do.