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Global femtocell deployments to hit 40m by 2013 - analyst

13 августа 2008

Moving traffic away from operators' macro networks could save $5 billion... but only with meticulous planning, Informa predicts.

The number of femtocells deployed worldwide is predicted to surpass 40 million by 2013, a rollout that could generate savings of $5 billion for operators, provided they plan carefully, Informa Telecoms & Media revealed on Tuesday.


The analyst firm's figures suggest that 2013 will be the year of the femtocell.

The company forecasts the addition of 22 million femtocells that year alone, more than doubling the then existing installed base.

The deployment of that many femtocells would shift as much of 8% of total mobile traffic to fixed networks, since femtocells make use of the customer's existing broadband connection, thereby generating cost savings of billions of dollars.

According to Informa, mobile operators would theoretically have to invest $13.8 billion in their macro networks in order to match the traffic carrying capability of the 22 million femtocells deployed in 2013.
Taking into account the fact that operators already have a certain amount of capacity redundancy in their networks, enough to handle around 33% of the required extra capacity, this sum is likely to be closer to $9 billion.

The analyst firm puts the capex required to support 22 million femtocell additions at around $3.7 billion, thereby arriving at a figure of $5.3 billion in savings.

However, the company cautions that these savings will only be realised if operators plan their femto rollouts carefully.

One potential pitfall could be the costs required to market and promote femtocells.

"Operators will have to invest [a] substantial amount of money if they want femtocell services to gain popularity," said Malik Saadi, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, in a statement.

Saadi also warned against mobile operators selling femtocells in a sporadic fashion, via their usual channels.
In addition to making it difficult to manage the femtocell access points and related infrastructure, "most importantly, this would mean the operator [would] not be able to make any capex or opex savings," he said.

For femtocell networks to effectively substitute macro network capacity, they must be deployed in clusters, Informa insists.

Источник: Total Telecom

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