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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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RE: $$??
By Dwayno on 3/20/2009 12:03:52 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
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.
quote:
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.


"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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