Inseego CEO Dan Mondor dismissed concerns about whether fixed-wireless is the right route for initial 5G rollouts, insisting it is a “natural starting point” for next generation deployments.
Mondor, whose company is working with Verizon and other operators to develop fixed 5G customer equipment, told Mobile World Live he views 5G rollouts as a two stage process which necessarily begins with fixed.
“For true mobility then you need complete network coverage. Apple and Samsung can come out with 5G-capable devices, but if there isn’t a full mobility network nationwide then what’s the point? Fixed is the logical starting place…Phase two will be full mobility, but full scale deployment of nationwide 5G NR is going to take a little bit more time.”
Inseego CMO Ashish Sharma noted fixed-wireless offers operators a plug and play option which changes the economics of broadband deployments. Rather than having to trench new fibre directly to homes, fixed-wireless access will allow them to rapidly deploy gigabit broadband to customers. Mondor added Inseego is designing its customer premise equipment (CPE) to be self-installed, meaning operators will also be able to save on truck roll costs.
But more than saving operators money, Sharma pointed out leading with fixed wireless deployments will give operators more time to work through challenges related to the use of mmWave spectrum. He explained it will also allow a mmWave ecosystem to develop, which will in turn bring prices down and open a mass market opportunity before operators take the leap into mobile 5G. Fixed-wireless deployments can also help build up the dense network coverage needed to make mobile 5G viable, Sharma added.
Mondor and Sharma said they couldn’t comment on operator plans, but reported Inseego is aiming to have standards-based 5G NR CPE ready for the mass market by the first half of 2019 following upcoming field trials later this year.
Verizon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on when it’s planning to transition to standards-based fixed 5G. The operator previously announced plans to press ahead with pre-standard fixed wireless 5G deployments starting later this year.
Source: Mobile World Live