Mid-band 5G and the Rise of Fixed Wireless

A graphic of 5G powering fixed wireless networks.

This summer’s CBRS auction saw plenty of action and some of the most exciting results came from smaller and unexpected places. It’s no secret that the anticipation for 5G has hung primarily in the world of smartphones and devices. Faster cell phone capabilities with extensive coverage are all part of the wonderful benefits 5G has to offer, but there is much more to this technology than meets the public eye. A large contributor to this will be the rise of fixed wireless capabilities. To make these functions work, companies from a variety of industries are relying on the 5G mid-band spectrum to power private and public networks that can deliver faster connections than ever before.

Unconventional Companies to Develop LTE and 5G Networks

Intranets, powering commercial devices, and automation are all on the table with 5G powered fixed wireless networks. The first step for many, however, will likely be LTE networks that evolve. This summer’s auction saw many unfamiliar names enter the world of wireless in a major way. With smaller, county-sized licenses available, companies from a range of industries came out to stake their claim to a piece of wireless for several operations. John Deere made its name heard, Alabama Power Company purchased 103 licenses for almost $19 million, and several oilfield companies including Chevron bid big for the future of their industries.

Application of these licenses can range just as we are seeing the industries that win them. Everything from supplying spectrum to real estate developments to empowering oilfield machinery to creating networks within their industry that can be rented by rivals and peers, 5G networks have a lot of opportunities. The Internet of Things (IoT) alone will allow companies functionality through automation and productivity that this increased interest in mid-band spectrum for fixed wireless will have plenty to work with from the jump. Factories that can work together, machinery collaboration with low human input, and better security for utility companies. The future of 5G fixed wireless will create a more cohesive future for many companies.

WISPs Providing Fixed Wireless to Rural Markets

Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) are getting a golden opportunity with the breakthrough of 5G. Many rural customers are unable to connect to the Internet via a wired connection. This can create a situation where many rural markets are without high-speed Internet that can be reliable and low in latency. 5G is changing everything. Even now, fixed wireless connections are not as fast as those of cable or fiber, but with 5G speeds having the capability of reaching and surpassing wired connections, WISPs will be capable of providing customers with a true alternative for their Internet needs.

This is equally true in the B2B sector. As we mentioned, the oilfield is earning some expensive licenses and one town, in particular, is even defying everything we thought we knew about 5G and where demand for this technology would come from. Loving, Texas, a small town with under 100 people, was home to some of the most expensive bids by volume due to its ties to the oilfield. Out of the seven licenses available, only one went to a company outside of the industry, DISH Network. The expectation is that these companies will use the licenses in the field of the IoT and building networks for other oilfield companies to purchase use from. DISH Network’s goals remain unclear, though it too is expecting to enter the fixed wireless provider front as a major force.

Expect Demand for 5G Fixed Wireless to Grow

These early signs are great for the wireless industry with demand expected to grow even further. December will host another FCC auction for mid-band spectrum and it is looking to be a big one. The U.S. government is even working to provide the private sector with more spectrum for mid-band use as the demand for 5G grows. Many companies will continue to bid on licenses to grow their networks and provide themselves and their customers with faster connections and more solutions.

Source: Fierce Wireless