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5G FWA fast growth: Smart devices will become high-speed and ‘always-on’

Overall demand for consumer technologies grew considerably in 2021, and volume is expected to continue to be strong for the foreseeable future. This is despite uncertainties related to the pandemic, geopolitical issues, the ongoing war in Ukraine, and problems in the supply chain. In addition, many countries are currently witnessing high rates of inflation and a growing cost of living crisis, all of which will continue to negatively impact consumers spending behaviors well into 2023 and beyond.

According to global technology intelligence firm ABI Research, despite the beforementioned external economic factors, considerable trends are emerging in the consumer electronics market that prioritise users’ experiences over device type. These major developments include remote access to smart-home connected devices, immersive experiences with smart glasses, and fast broadband connectivity through 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), which are all gaining momentum and fueling consumer technologies’ market growth.

“Suppliers are increasingly offering smart home control through apps and services. Smart TVs, for example, will become a smart display in the house, with “always connected” capabilities and low-power modes, allowing TVs to play a more significant role in the virtual assistant world. Furthermore, the value of home security applications and platforms continues to drive sales, pushing demand for these devices beyond projected estimates,” states Filomena Iovino, 5G Devices, Consumer Technologies Research Analyst at ABI Research. Overall, ABI Research forecasts the global smart home device market to reach shipments of 1.9 billion by 2030, up from 751.3 million in 2021, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 9.4%. In addition, revenue will reach US$51.3 billion in 2030, up from US$26.5 million in 2021, at a CAGR of 16.5%.

The vision of immersive communication is to enable natural experiences and interactions remotely. Demand for immersive content in numerous markets presents a significant opportunity. For example, virtual reality (VR) applications have been expanded beyond gaming into areas such as tourism, education, social VR, sports and fitness, and productivity/creativity apps. ABI Research forecasts that total VR head-mounted display (HMD) shipments will increase in 2022, reaching approximately 15 million units. “Additionally, augmented reality (AR) has the potential to improve remote communication and mainstream smart glasses, despite representing a small market in the consumer space, will drastically alter how and when people communicate and collaborate. Smart glasses will drastically alter connectivity, service performance, and compute needs,” Iovino says. Apple and Google are spending extensively in the field for their mobile device platforms, which will enable mobile VR and unique smart glasses solutions. Following its rebranding from Facebook, Meta has invested billions of dollars in realizing its vision of the metaverse, with AR and VR serving as the hardware foundation. ABI Research expects AR glasses to reach 2.7 million shipments by 2027 worldwide at a CAGR of 67%.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on consumers’ habits, forcing more remote working, learning, and entertainment consumption, while online purchasing has boomed which has led retailers to supply their offerings across many channels. This change in behavior has necessitated faster broadband development in areas lacking fiber connections and, consequently, demand for better broadband connectivity has been increasing worldwide. Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) represents a cost-effective and scalable alternative to conventional fixed-line broadband connectivity, and the ongoing 5G network deployments are forging significant growth in 5G FWA market. In essence, 5G FWA will become a direct rival to fixed broadband, delivering low-cost and easy broadband installations to fixed locations in rural or sparse areas, however, the 5G network needs to be rolled out to cover such areas, and this cannot be said yet of many countries worldwide. “Therefore, 5G FWA market is likely to be concentrated in mature markets such as North America and Western Europe in the forecast period. The 5G FWA market is expected to see significant growth with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 72%, reaching nearly 69 million subscriptions worldwide by 2026,” Iovino concludes.

CT Bureau

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