Femtocell Regulatory Issues

This slideshow discusses some of the legal and regulatory concerns and issues affecting femtocells in the US. These include:

  • Outdoor macrocells may not have the capacity to deliver high speed internet, and thus may attract lawsuits from customers unhappy with the service.
  • Femtocell nomadicity, as customer move them to other locations (e.g. holiday/second homes), which may disrupt outdoor networks.
  • 911 emergency calls should be available from any femtocell for any user. But what if the femtocell has been moved (see above point)
  • Billing issues, including customers believing they were on their femtocell when they weren't (and being charged by the minute instead)
  • Voice quality and data speed expectations from customers. Early CDMA femtocells (Sprint Airave) did not include high speed data technology and so it's important that advertising claims match product capabilities.
  • Roaming. Can femtocells be used to avoid roaming charges?
  • Interception. Can femtocells be used to intercept calls which are handled as normal, but recorded/offloaded to the femtocell owner?

 

 

Whilst not all of the above issues will seriously affect operator's bringing the femtocell products to market, it will impact on how they are advertised. Policing of femtocell nomadicity and concerns about snooping into cellphone calls may be the more important issues to address.
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#1 Brandon said: 
Aren't there also legal / regulatory issues with wireless carriers / femtocell providers using a landline telco's network to initiate calls, carry potentially large bandwidth traffic, and terminate calls without paying mandated termination fees? Shifting the cost to build and maintain a network from one company onto a competitor will surely ignite a malestrom of litigation and a rewriting of current telecom regulation.
0 Quote 2008-09-03 20:30
 
#2 Thinkfemtocell said: 
Brandon

Sometimes we have seen regulatory (for which read protectionist) measures against VoIP, which is bypassing the traditional fixed network carrier. In past years, some countries (for which read incumbent operators) were concerned about losing international voice traffic - a highly profitable business.

In more recent years, this has opened up to allow more competition.

VoIP services are usually allowed over residential broadband (i use them myself), regardless of who supplies which. Femtocells would simply be another VoIP-type application, and so I wouldn't expect a legal challenge in most countries.

Many network operators are now able to offer both fixed broadband and wireless services (eg Vodafone bought several broadband European providers), and so its likely you can buy both broadband and wireless from the same provider (who would then also provide the femtocell).
0 Quote 2008-09-04 21:36
 
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