Fixed Wireless Now Generates as Much Global Revenue as Business Voice, Unified Communications

As vital as business voice and unified communications capabilities might be, they do not drive huge service provider revenues, globally.

By some measures, the global market for all business voice and unified communications, including the value of business access to support voice and UC, is perhaps US $28 billion a year.

Of that $28 billion or so of revenue, perhaps $10 billion consists of internet and data access circuits, implying that the value of hosted voice, unified communications apps and phone systems is about $18 billion annually.

So compare that to just one other product, namely fixed wireless internet access, admittedly a niche.

The global fixed wireless access market will grow 30 percent in 2018 and will generate $18 billion in service revenue, according to ABI Research, boosted by new use of 5G platforms to supply fixed wireless.

The point is that the fixed wireless revenue segment already is about the same size revenue contributor as business voice and unified communications.

It might not be easy to compare the relative value of those revenue streams. Businesses require voice capabilities and unified communications, while consumers also "need" internet access. The point, though, is that the fixed wireless internet access business (mostly consumer) is about the same size revenue contributor as all business voice and UC (phone systems, hosted voice, unified communications solutions).

You might therefore characterize the fixed wireless segment--though still a niche within the broader service provider business--as roughly as big a contributor as business voice and UC.

ABI Research forecasts worldwide fixed wireless broadband market to grow at a compound annual rate of 26 percent to generate $45.2 billion worth of revenue globally  in 2022.

Tier-one service providers launching 5G fixed wireless include Verizon plans an initial 5G fixed wireless network covering around 30 million U.S. households.

AT&T and Charter also are carrying out 5G fixed wireless broadband tests in select markets in the United States.

In Europe, Orange, Elisa, and telecom infrastructure company Arqiva are performing 5G fixed wireless trials as well. Australia’s Optus is planning for a 5G fixed wireless service launch in 2019.

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