An operator offers a mobile solution to the wireless broadband access problem

An operator offers a mobile solution to the wireless broadband access problem

Vodafone Italia is preparing to launch a new offer using Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) technology, aimed at customers who are unable to access the company’s fixed network infrastructure, according to a report.

The new range, called Vodafone Casa Wireless, will be available on the company’s Giga Network FWA, at speeds of up to 30 Mbps at the promotional rate of €24.90 (US $26.95) a month instead of €27.90 (US $30.20) a month and at speeds of up to 300 Mbps for €29.90 (US $32.36) instead of €32.90 (US $35.61) a month. Existing Vodafone mobile customers can access the latter plan for €24.90 a month.

The FWA modem comes in an indoor version with a self-installing unit including a SIM card and router or an outdoor version with an external unit and SIM card to be connected via a LAN cable to a Vodafone Power Station.

Tarifica’s Take

Even in developed countries such as Italy, lack of access to fixed broadband is a continuing problem for many, especially in more remote and rural areas. In the developing world, the lack of access is more severe. One of the technological solutions is Fixed Wireless Access, an alternative to cable or fiber in which a mobile wireless signal is converted into broadband. One advantage to the operator is that it requires less expenditure than fiber-to-the-home or other last-mile solutions.

Vodafone’s FWA solution offers reasonable rates and high speeds. The relationship between rates and speeds is interesting because of its unevenness. For a 20 percent increase in price, from €24.90 to €29.90, the user can have a tenfold increase in maximum speed, from 30 Gbps to 300 Gbps (this does not apply to those who already have Vodafone wireless service; they get the 300 Mbps service for the lower price). Clearly the operator is incentivizing customers to get the higher priced version—as well as advertising its speed capabilities—and the higher speed must not be much more expensive to provide.

As always, speeds are nominal and not guaranteed; real-world performance will depend on network congestion, devices used, and other factors. The present offering is 4G/LTE-based. With the emerging 5G technology, even better results can be achieved. Vodafone may have even more success with FWA if, in future, it were to run on 5G.