It turns out that fixed wireless access (FWA) is a winning 5G use case not only in the U.S., but in the Middle East as well.

According to Nokia’s Middle East and Africa (MEA) Mobile Broadband Index, 5G FWA in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and 4G FWA in the rest of the MEA region are one of the most attractive use cases, with a “significant opportunity” for operators to drive incremental revenues. GCC countries include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE.

FWA subscribers are expected to reach 23 million in the Middle East and Africa region by 2027.

The report analyzes mobile broadband traffic trends at a consolidated level and isn’t designed to provide a comparative analysis of data growth for different operators.

The report finds that in the GCC region, 5G adoption is the fastest, and 5G subscribers are expected to reach 75% of the population by 2027, mainly driven by Saudi Arabia.

For an added bonus, 5G networks are more energy efficient than previous radio network generations, making it easier for operators to reach their sustainability targets, according to Nokia.

Diversity in region 

The MEA region is diverse, with many countries at different stages of development, said head of Mobile Networks at Nokia MEA Mikko Lavanti.

“Data consumption with high-speed networks is increasing exponentially across the MEA market in both urban and rural areas,” he said in a statement. “Reliable 4G and 5G networks are critical for bridging the digital divide in the region, in addition to supporting data-intensive applications for communities and businesses.”

In non-GCC Middle Eastern countries and in Africa, 4G will continue to expand and is still the dominant technology until 2027, as 5G deployment is in the early stages and poised to gain more momentum over the next years.

Many operators in Africa continue to develop their business models around 4G, and voice traffic still relies on 2G and 3G networks in many parts of the region, Nokia said.

5G is predicted to increase steadily and will contribute to the growth of the mobile broadband subscriber base, which is expected to grow with a CAGR of 6% in MEA. According to the report, 4G networks in MEA account for 79% of overall data traffic today, and by 2027, 4G and 5G will together account for 90% of data traffic.

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