There’s a Market Share and Flow Share Blind Spot in 5G FWA (and here's how to fix it)

Embedded in the promise of a 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) future is a perilous blind spot for telecommunications providers: the lack of accurate data to determine a provider’s market and flow share.

“It turns out that FWA adoption is impossible to detect using the carrier linkage data format and flow share estimation,” says Anindya Datta, founder and CEO at Mobilewalla. “Based on our conversations with our many telecom partners, this is a key concern across the industry.”

Why? Most publicly available telecom connection data cannot distinguish FWA connections on 5G. Prior to 5G, the proportion of Wi-Fi use enabled by wired connections approximated broadband use. That’s because wireless broadband options like FWA lacked the throughput to be used much, if at all, for traditional broadband roles.

5G is changing that by promising speeds and throughput that can exceed that of wired home Wi-Fi. Before 5G, cellular connections could be reliably bucketed as non-broadband for market share estimation. 5G puts every mobile service provider in the broadband space, yet legacy data compilation techniques still simply report FWA as “cellular” on connectivity data streams.

“With the advent and expectedly rapid adoption of 5G FWA, a ‘cellular’ record may or may not be a truly cellular connection,” says Datta. “The attached IP could, in fact, be supporting broadband usage through an FWA service.”

The Problem: Data Reliability is Down as Accuracy Becomes More Critical

The result is an underestimation of broadband market share when using legacy market share computation processes. That’s a huge problem when acquiring and retaining customers is a top priority for broadband providers. And one of the most essential tools driving acquisition and retention is market share (vendor performance versus competitors) and flow share (customer movement between competitors and technologies) data.

Current solutions also fail to capture the context of change, falling short in parsing:

  • Connection types and new connectivity frameworks like FWA
  • New vendors, as mobile providers jump into broadband services
  • Changing consumption patterns unlocked by 5G and FWA
  • Parsing between business and household broadband
  • More granular data at the geographic and product levels

Access to more precise data will only become more critical as 5G FWA continues to roll out. A Deloitte survey found that two of every five respondents would give up their current home internet service to try 5G FWA. And among those willing to change, 60% said they’d likely change their internet provider to get 5G FWA if their current provider didn’t offer it. 

“No wonder that understanding market share and flow share in the context of 5G FWA is a top priority for both wired broadband and mobile service providers,” says Datta.


The Solution: Data Enrichment to Accurately Classify 5G Connections

This is where data enrichment can help eliminate the growing blind spot and give telcos accurate insights into their subscriber evolution. An example is Mobilewalla Market Flow, a proprietary machine learning-based solution that identifies cellular connections as “true cellular” or “FWA” with more than 90% accuracy.

“Market Flow is able to detect patterns of behavior that indicate broadband usage, like persistent content consumption from streaming platforms,” Datta says. “Its predictive power is enabled by Mobilewalla’s vast consumer data lake containing linkage data and associated behavior like content consumption over a period of 7-plus years.”

Here’s how Market Flow works: 

First, Market Flow pulls in observed cellular IP addresses, households, and wireless broadband logs. From there, Market Flow can classify data like:

  • Home hours engaged
  • The proximity of connected devices
  • Home location of connected devices
  • Mobility
  • Session windows
  • App usage behaviors
  • Connected TV engagement

Next, Market Flow enriches this data by leveraging Mobilwalla’s extensive consumer behavior data set, including:

  • Demographics
  • App usage
  • Devices
  • Carriers
  • Offline behavior

Then, Market Flow can contextualize the data, enabling the accurate classification of connections as FWA or “true” cellular – again, with accuracy exceeding 90%.

The result is a comprehensive, granular, and accurate view of broadband usage across both residential and business customers. 

Ready to fill in your 5G FWA blind spots? We can provide additional insights to optimize market share and flow share reporting for a new age. Want to know more? Let’s schedule a meeting.

Read Next: Leveraging Household Insights to Attract and Retain Subscribers - A Telco Case Study


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