Yesterday, I noted that AT&T’s 2017 roadmap includes fixed wireless 5G trials. Such trials and early rollouts of 5G likely will lean heavily of fixed wireless, since it’s easier to hit a stationary target. The hard stuff, such as delivering 5G to a device speeding along the highway, can be saved for later.
That doesn’t mean that fixed wireless is not already out in the field and, in some cases, making money and serving real subscribers. The great attractions of the technique are those of wireless in general: No streets need to be dug up. The economics of fixed wireless improve as the coverage area’s footprint becomes less dense.
Today, WirelessWeek reported that U.S. Cellular is moving on non-5G fixed wireless; CEO Kenneth Meyers said at an investor conference that it will continue fixed wireless testing that it began last year with Nokia. A comment from Meyers indicates that the sweet spot for the service may be in rural areas where “the cable footprint stops.”
Despite the fact that both AT&T and U.S. Cellular are in test mode regarding fixed wireless, it’s already a very much proven technology. Starry and Rise Broadband are two good examples.