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- Published on Tuesday, 04 September 2007
- Written by David Chambers
This major Chinese vendor offers a wide range of telecom infrastructure covering all major technologies and including radio and core network components. They overtook Ericsson to capture the largest global market share of mobile infrastructure in 2012 with strong growth in developing markets.
For several years, they offered a complete end-to-end femtocell solution using almost entirely their own in-house products. In 2012, they withdrew from residential femtocell applications, and concentrated their efforts on public access small cells to complement their macrocell sites. These AtomCell products are positioned to work seamlessly with their GigaCell macrocells as part of a comprehensive HetNet network.
They demonstrated a prototype 3G femtocell which included fast HSPA data at Expo Comm Wireless Japan in July 2007.
The company offered an end-to-end femtocell solution including their own femtocell gateway and management system. Their femtocell products had very similar specifications to other femtocells, with residential units supporting 4 simultaneous voice or data sessions and larger enterprise femtocells supporting 16 concurrent calls. A more attractive set of physical designs shown below left was launched in 2009, which won a Femto Forum award in 2010. Little information about the technical specification was publicly disclosed on the internet.
Texas Instruments claimed Huawei as one of the vendors who based their femtocell on TI's DSP chip.
Huawei position femtocells as one of the three solutions for indoor coverage, the others being DAS (Distributed Antenna Systems) and ePico (their higher capacity/larger indoor picocell solution). While their website suggests that femtocells belong only for residential use, their higher capacity femtocell products have been trialled for enterprise use.
Starhub publicised a six month trial in Singapore involving both Huawei and ZTE femtocells in May 2008. This went fully commercial in November 2008 , with only Huawei femtocells mentioned in the press.
In November 2009, China Unicom soft launched their "3G Inn" femtocell service using Huawei femtocells. Huawei have deployed complementary DAS, femtocell and Wi-Fi solutions for China Unicom.
Vodafone launched femtocell service in Spain in June 2010 with a combination of Huawei (for office users) and Alcatel-Lucent femtocells (for residential).
Mobilkom Austria announced a trial of 35 femtocells in November 2008. This included two models, a standard domestic version supporting four simultaneous users and a larger enterprise version which could handle up to 16 simultaneous calls. This has not been announced as moving to full commercial operation.
A number of other enterprise and small residential femtocell deployments were rumoured, but this did not seem to be a major priority for the company, which withdrew from the femtocell market in 2011.
Instead it offers a small cell product branded the Atomocell, with 2W RF power, primarily for use in public access purposes. The small cell will be available separately for 3G and LTE, with multi-mode products in the longer term.
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