With major growth expectations come many new challenges. And for telecommunications service providers, the 5G revolution represents the biggest growth opportunity in years. According to Forbes, more than 310 million Americans now have 5G access. And of all mobile subscribers in the U.S., more than 20 percent have upgraded to 5G service.
But isn’t 5G just a newer, better, faster network for mobile phones? Yes, 5G will provide mobile users with many benefits, however, 5G is also a powerful new enabler for fixed wireless access (FWA). More than 75 percent of service providers now offer FWA service, according to data by Ericsson—more than double what it was three years ago. That’s a significant trend. And it’s only likely to grow.
with 5G FWA making up nearly 7 percent of that number. However, with the industry-wide 5G rollout well on its way, you can expect that number to climb—and fast. And with rapid growth comes both opportunities and challenges.
What is fixed wireless access?
Simply put, fixed wireless access uses radio waves to deliver ultra-high-speed broadband service to internet-connected devices. It’s an increasingly popular option for residential subscribers and enterprise customers who don’t have access to dedicated cable or fiber networks or who prefer “cutting the cord.” Further, because the signals come from towers, not satellites, FWA is less prone to latency and weather-related connectivity issues.
What are the challenges with fixed wireless access?
The biggest challenge with FWA isn’t the technology, which far surpasses previous fixed wireless attempts. It is about driving adoption. Remember that statistic about 20 percent of Americans upgrading to 5G service? While that’s a significant number, it’s far from the majority. And the 7 percent who currently use 5G FWA is smaller still. Adoption is somewhat constrained by the pace of rollout by service providers to their markets. However, potential customers worldwide are still hesitant to adopt yet another broadband solution—even if it offers considerably better service than their current method. How then can service providers convince holdouts about the benefits of 5G fixed wireless access? The linchpin for driving adoption is getting the Service Providers’ employees that market to and interact with the end customer up to speed as quickly as possible and being able to rapidly scale these teams in line with expected growth.
Getting users—and staff—onboard and up to speed
As we reported earlier, service providers will need to deliver a clear, consistent message on the benefits of—and, in fact, need for—5G FWA service. And they’ll have to do it across all channels—from marketing to sales to customer care. To accomplish this, some service providers are setting up dedicated teams (or whole organizations) to focus on both selling and delivering customer care/support for 5G FWA users. Telesales will need support to quickly onboard new agents (or cross-train exiting agents) in FWA services and gain market share through new acquisitions.
Customer care and tech support teams will likewise need onboarding assistance to prepare agents for the new technology and the subsequent customer questions, service needs and follow-up actions that come with it. To complete the loop, marketing and product teams will want to capitalize on customer feedback to quickly adapt to this growing and evolving market.
Help is on the way
To drive 5G FWA adoption, service providers will need to take a hard look at their customer experience.
Fortunately, advances in conversational AI and automation make optimizing the customer experience easier than ever. From intelligent self-service to AI-enabled agent assistance, service providers today can present users with a cohesive, consistent experience across all channels while rapidly scaling the organization. Further, service providers can use conversational analytics to extract value from every conversation, whether it is coaching agents or gathering feedback on the product. And with that, they can finally clear the last hurdle to 5G FWA adoption.