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Femtocell rollouts expected late 2009
|10 февраля 2009|
Operators are likely to begin commercial deployments of femtocells by late 2009, according to in-building equipment maker ip.access.
"We see the carriers that are supporting femtocells ramp up from lab testing to pilots during the first half," commented Stephen Mallinson, CEO of ip.access.
"From there we expect wide scale trials ramping up to nationwide rollouts in some cases by the end of 2009," he said.
Despite the progress towards commercial launches, femtocells have come under fire recently as doubts were raised over the business case for offering indoor base stations.
DECT phone maker Gigaset said at the end of 2008 that the lack of a business model will see femtocells fail to gain any traction in the consumer market.
Meanwhile wireless equipment maker Andrew more recently alleged that the average consumer lacks the bandwidth to access broadband Internet services and handle 3G traffic at the same time.
Still, Mallinson remains unperturbed.
"You can't really win that argument before the technology has launched. There will always be believers and detractors," he said.
"As a company we wouldn't invest in a technology that we didn't think had a market, so we are as interested in the business case for femtocells as much as the carriers we talk to [are], and they are convinced that there is a business model behind this," he commented.
Mallinson said that in-building 3G coverage is still a problem, and that femtocells and picocells provide mobile operators with the opportunity to solve this issue and win market share from their competitors.
"What operators choose to charge, and how they market femtocells will become clearer over time," he said.
Mallinson maintained that on the whole femtocells are likely to gain traction in developed mobile markets such as Western Europe and North America.
However, he also said that indoor base stations have the potential to take off in markets with readily available IP connectivity, but poor mobile coverage.
"In growing markets like India where demand for coverage is very high, new carriers aiming to quickly deploy 3G services in large cities may consider working from the inside out," said Mallinson.
"We were surprised at the availability of fixed broadband," he added.
ip.access on Monday also announced the launch of its first 3G picocell, aimed at improving in-building mobile broadband coverage for enterprises.
The nano3G picocell shares a common architecture with the equipment maker's Oyster 3G femtocell product, but with the benefits of higher capacity and larger coverage area that come with 2G picocells.
"More corporate customers nowadays have smartphones and data cards that typically don't work well indoors, but now carriers can use better in-building coverage as a way of winning business from their rivals," said Mallinson.
"Telcos can differentiate on handsets and complicated tariffs, but they can sweeten their offers by providing better indoor 3G coverage," he said.
Источник: Total Telecom