Thursday, April 07, 2011

More on Femtocells

This is an old story (mid 2007), but gives a nice overview of femtocells.Femtocell Trial:

Remember earlier femtocell discussions? We’re talking about the technology that amplifies cell phone signals, particularly within consumer homes.


The idea behind femtocells for consumers is that they provide better in-home coverage along with one contact list and one phone bill. Presumably if the voice quality is good enough, wireless carriers believe they can get some consumers to leave their landlines behind and go entirely mobile. That doesn’t seem like an unreasonable assumption, particularly when I think about all the people I know in New York who haven’t had a landline for years.

A couple of analyst stats:

  • According to ABI Research, there will be 150 million femtocell users by 2012
  • According to Ovum, 30 to 40 percent of cell phone traffic originates in the home, making a compelling reason for wireless carriers to invest in femtocell technology.

Femtocells haven't taken off yet, but carriers (AT & T, Sprint, and Verizon) have been selling them to supplement poor 3G coverage. What's the cost? Verizon's Network Extender is $250 with no monthly fees. Here's some more recent data:

Sprint: We've got 250,000 femtocells on our network:

Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) currently counts around 250,000 femtocells on its network and expects that number to increase to around 1 million during the course of the next few years.


The figure indicates Sprint accounts for a good portion of the femtocells in the United States. According to the Femto Forum, there were 350,000 femtocells nationwide at the end of 2010. AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) also sell femtocells.

Interestingly, Simon Saunders, chairman of the Femto Forum, said the number of femtocells in the United States is now greater than the number of cell towers. He said there were around 256,000 cell towers in the United States at the end of last year. Globally, he said there were 1.7 million femtocells deployed at the end of 2010.

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