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Global 3G femtocell subs to exceed 15m in 2012

11 сентября 2009

Consumer mobile phone users' desire for improved 3G network coverage in their homes will be the main driving force behind femtocell deployments in the next few years, with subscriptions predicted to surpass the 15 million mark worldwide during 2012, according to a new report from Juniper Research.

The analyst firm also predicts that revenues from new, advanced femtocell services will gain traction from 2011, and forecasts that global service revenues from femtocells will reach more than $9 billion by 2014.

"Poor indoor signal strength and slow Web access are quite common problems faced by users," said Howard Wilcox, senior analyst at Juniper Research, in a statement issued on Thursday.

"Femtocells offer an attractive solution – both for users and network operators who themselves can achieve economies through data traffic offload," he added.

But Wilcox's message does not completely resonate with all mobile operators.

Speaking to Total Telecom at Broadband World Forum Europe earlier this week, Telstra CTO Hugh Bradlow said his company would hold fire on femtocell technology until there are also femtocell-specific applications available.

"You don't want to charge your customers for coverage," for fear of sending the message that the operator has failed to properly fulfil its role as network provider, he warned. Bradlow also noted that the capacity benefits for operators do not kick in until a significant number of femtocells have been deployed.

However, others seem to disagree.

The U.K.'s Vodafone became the first European operator to launch femtocells when it unveiled its Vodafone Access Gateway in June. It is marketing the product as providing "a great 3G signal throughout your home, no matter where you live".

Juniper Research suggests that while in the preliminary stages femtocells will exist as standalone products, they will be integrated into home wireless routers in future, creating multi-function, home network services gateways, noting that router vendors are already working towards this aim.

The company sees shipments of standalone femtocells taking off in 2011-2012, with sales of integrated units exceeding them by 2014.

The analyst community is taking a renewed interest in the femtocell market.

Earlier this month Frost & Sullivan predicted that femtocell subscriptions in Europe will reach 11.8 million by 2014, driving revenues of around €401.2 million for femtocell vendors.

But with around 500 million mobile subscribers in Europe at present – and an estimated 4 billion worldwide – both sets of figures suggest a relatively niche opportunity for the femtocell.


Источник: Total Telecom

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