We interviewed Nigel Toon, the new president and CEO of picoChip (the primary supplier of femtocell chipsets). He gave us his view of the current and future femtocell market, explaining picoChip’s strategy to retain dominant leadership. He believes that within 2 years, operators will be clamouring to get a femtocell into your living room and that when the first operators launch femtocells there will be tremendous competitive pressure for others to follow suit.
Shlomo Gadot is CEO of Percello, an Israeli startup company designing a low-cost, high performance femtocell 3G W-CDMA baseband processor chip. He describes how he is working with a team of mobile handset chip designers to develop a dedicated 3G femtocell chip, believes femtocells will be dramatically cheaper in the near future, gives some market forecasts, industry predictions and even tells us what’s keeping him awake at night.
Orange/France Telecom is a leading proponent of UMA, which uses special dual-mode cellular/WiFi phones to make and receive calls over WiFi as well as the outdoor cellular network. Lauren believes UMA offers many of the same customer benefits as femtocells, and provides insights into what types of customers have bought UMA, how they use it, why it is not promoted for roaming and why Orange are investigating femtocells for enterprise customers. Bringing UMA to market has also highlighted issues for operators merging their fixed/mobile services (and operations), which all highlight lessons for potential femtocell operators.
Will Franks, CTO of Ubiquisys (an independent femtocell access point vendor), is pleased that the Femto Forum has given smaller femto companies a voice in the femto standards. He notes that operators have been largely silent on the state of their femtocell trials and market launch plans, suggests we’ll see “hard launches” during 1H2009 addressing many go-to-market business processes and indicates that some operators are choosing between enterprise and domestic markets for femtocells.
Prof. Simon Saunders is Chairman of the Femto Forum. He reports on their progress against original objectives, looks ahead at technical standards for Release 9, and gives some insight into a new initiative to open up applications inside femtozones.
We spoke with Sudhir Tangri, Assistant VP Strategic Marketing from Aricent, who provide software, consultancy and SI to vendors and operators. He believes that the 3G femtocell BoM cost will drop next year to $50, suggests that it’s the applications not devices which will drive demand for LTE and believes LTE femtocells are the most appropriate way to rollout this new 4G radio capacity.
We spoke with Manish Singh VP Product Line Management at Continuous Computing who provide the Trillium signalling protocol software for many femtocell vendors. He believes the case for LTE femtocells is compelling, that CDMA operators will be the first to deploy them and highlight that it’s not just the volume of mobile broadband data, but the type of usage which will drive network operators to offload data traffic onto femtocells in the near future.
As part of the ThinkFemtocell Leadership Interview Series, we spoke with Andy Tiller – VP Marketing at ip.access. Andy kindly took some time out to share his thoughts on the state of the femtocell market, the ip.access roadmap and what operators think of the business case for femtocells today.