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Femtocell deployment has slowed but it still coming

Femtocells promise to alleviate one of the most common issues that plague mobile phone users; that of poor signal strength inside a home or office. The small devices route cellular signals through a broadband internet connection when in range.

ABI Research reports that the recession has slowed femtocell deployment, but the research firm says that is only temporary.

ABI Research analyst Aditya Kaul said in a statement, "Femtocell rollouts to date have been limited, controlled ones. But ABI Research expects that 2010 will see shipments climbing well above a million units."

According to Kaul, the femtocell deployment race will start in earnest in late 2009 or early 2010 when a major mobile operator announces a multi-city commercial femtocell deployment. The analyst believes that the deployment will push other mobile operators to follow.

ABI believes that one significant barrier to femtocell deployment today is the price of the hardware. Analysts believe that the femtocell market can operate at various price points, but the psychological barrier for many buyers will be $100. ABI notes that a low-cost femtocell is essential to bridging the gap between niche markets and the mass market.

Kaul also points out that at this point there has been no real test of a large-scale femtocell deployment in the real world. All tests have been simulated thus far. He notes, "These challenges are all valid, but none of them are show-stoppers – there’s no ‘elephant in the room’ that will pose a major obstacle to large-scale deployment."

The mobile operator that Kaul is alluding to could well be Verizon. Verizon announced in October 2008 that it would be offering femtocells in early 2009. The catch is that not only will Verizon customers need to buy the femtocell at $99.99; customers will also have to pay an additional $10 or $20 per month on their phone bill.

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By Alphafox78 on 3/19/2009 4:20:41 PM , Rating: 5
So let me get this straight: the cellular carriers coverage sucks so Im supposed to SPEND $100 of MY money so that it can use MY internet bandwidth?? how about they GIVE me one and I charge THEM every time I have to subsidize their weak signal!

If you do live in a rural area this is convenient though.

RE: $$??
By Proxes on 3/19/2009 4:45:49 PM , Rating: 2
It's probably safe to assume a lot of people in rural areas that have poor cell phone coverage also have poor broadband services.

RE: $$??
By icanhascpu on 3/19/2009 4:51:01 PM , Rating: 5
No way, 100$ a month for 2k ping and 10GB limitation per month is a steal!

Too bad im not the one doing the stealing.

RE: $$??
By icanhascpu on 3/19/2009 4:46:15 PM , Rating: 3
You mean you don't want to pay more just to get the service your paying for now?

Get him guys, he's a red!

RE: $$??
By GaryJohnson on 3/19/2009 5:07:41 PM , Rating: 2
If you don't have coverage at your house and buying a femtocell gives you coverage, then you're paying more to get more.

If you can get good cell coverage at your residence you can drop your land line which will save money in the long run.

RE: $$??
By bhieb on 3/19/2009 5:11:38 PM , Rating: 3
Your kinda missing the point. The point is that if the "coverage" map includes my house, then I should be able to get a good signal there. If not then why should I have to pay extra because they are too cheap to put up enough towers.

More bars in more places my a...

RE: $$??
By Proxes on 3/19/2009 11:34:39 PM , Rating: 2
Where I live there's a few caves that hold various types of companies, e.g. whole warehousing complexes. In those caves you can't receive radio or cell.

For companies operating under those conditions there's an obvious advantage to getting a femtocell to plug into your wired LAN/WAN.

RE: $$??
By Lerianis on 3/19/2009 11:46:54 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but look at the article.... the main people who are supposed to use these things are home users..... which doesn't make any F***ing sense, since we are ALREADY paying for service.

I can understand businesses not being able to get signals.... they are usually made of concrete with metal bars in them, both of which block signals...... but home users, even in mobile homes? Come on, no way Jose!

My parents have that problem where we live: they either have to hang their phone in the window and use by father's blue-tooth headset to talk, or go outside and sit on the porch to talk on their cell phones.

RE: $$??
By Proxes on 3/20/2009 10:03:24 AM , Rating: 2
The article said "home or office".

RE: $$??
By kattanna on 3/19/2009 4:55:45 PM , Rating: 2
you forgot the extra $10-$20 a month on your bill for the honor to be your own service provider.

thats just so sexy!

RE: $$??
By v1001 on 3/19/2009 5:07:27 PM , Rating: 2
For $20 a year I might as well get magicjack if I'm going to be at home or my office and going through my broadband anyway.

RE: $$??
By nixoofta on 3/19/2009 6:28:55 PM , Rating: 2
Hurry though,..they've sold 1,824,..1,842,..1,875 units in under a minute! They're goin' fast!

RE: $$??
By Alphafox78 on 3/19/2009 5:21:27 PM , Rating: 2
It wouldn't surprise me if this was Verizon, they try to nickle and dime you for every dang thing. where do they get off charging $20 more a month??? this is why I switched to ATT

RE: $$??
By wifiwolf on 3/19/2009 10:09:11 PM , Rating: 2
HEHE , we've got some bad prices on components and related things here in Europe as 100$ price means 120€ even though 1€ is worth 1.36$, so it almost translates into double the price.
But when we're talking about telecomunications... hehe:)
Americans should start going on strike for these insane plans.

RE: $$??
By Dwayno on 3/20/2009 12:03:52 AM , Rating: 2
If you do live in a rural area this is convenient though.

I have property that is located 25 miles between 2 major cities (total population = 1.3 M +) and ~7 miles from 2 major expressways, yet my property is in a cellular dead zone! All the major cellular services claim to cover this area. Why should I have to pay extra for coverage that they all claim I have?!

RE: $$??
By heulenwolf on 3/20/2009 9:12:19 AM , Rating: 2
I live and work in an area with good coverage and yet I'm still outraged by these prices. I agree that femtocells alone, which use your home internet bandwidth, should not be sold as an additional service. If a wireless carrier asks to put a cell tower on your land, you can expect them to offer you a rather large sum of money to lease it. Given that the benefit is shared among any of their customers who come into range, this pricing structure seems backwards. For the same price, you can get VOIP service, a few phones, you don't have to string a GPS antenna to the window, and your bandwidth remains dedicated to your home.
Why should I have to pay extra for coverage that they all claim I have?!

Does the FCC or some other regulating body have a site where you can file complaints about false coverage claims? Like feature checklists, I think that coverage maps have become the next feature race in wireless service. Companies see that a competitor claims better coverage in an area so they add that area to their coverage maps without the full coverage to back it up. I almost moved into a stream valley recently where every major carrier claims coverage and, in fact, none of the carriers have outdoor coverage there. I asked people there with Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T phones if they had service. Most showed one bar on their phones but calls failed when they dialed. Since this area was near Washington, D.C., I'm sure there's no way carriers want to admit a lack of coverage in that area.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov
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