T-Mobile announces 3 European trials of Femtocells

t-Mobile-logoT-Mobile UK trialled femtocells in UK, Netherlands and Germany in the second quarter of 2008, but despite strong indications did not commercially launch any products to date. Their US subsiduary offers a WiFi-based alternative (UMA) and shows no signs of adopting the technology in the near term.

Emin Gurdenli (Group CTO) has for some time expressed concerns at the enormous operational costs of providing high speed data services on their 3G network. He has spoken at several conferences explaining his focus on backhaul transmission costs, exploring DSL and broadband ethernet options to drive costs down.

Whilst optimistic about the technology, with no unsurmountable technical problems, he suggested there was more work to do to solidify the business case - "We have to have completed the development of the concept - not just the technology - including the business models and so on".

Whilst T-Mobile USA continues to have a strong proposition using WiFi dual mode phones - Hotspot@Home - this is targetted more at poor coverage gaps, where 3G femtocells will have to provide more significant service innovation to achieve high takeup.

T-Mobile UK is being merged with Orange UK to become the largest UK mobile network. This consolidation is likely to affect major strategic decisions for femtocell launch in the UK.

In July 2008, T-Mobile Germany announced they had started a field trial in the Bonn/Cologne area.

In June 2009 at Femtocell World Summit, Klaus-Jurgen Krath (Senior VP Radio Network Engineering) said T-Mobile was committed to launching before the end of 2009. There were no technical "show stoppers" identified from their field trials. He did not forsee rapid takeup (in hundreds of thousands), but rather a more limited volume. They would also be used to replace repeaters and picocells within their network. This will lead to a phased introduction of integrated home gateways, first with a fixed/mobile offer and later fully integrated home services.

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#1 Philip said: 
I use a Nokia phone on the T-Mobile network, can I purchase a unit to enable me to use my mobile in my basement office in my home in Manchester England?
0 Quote 2009-02-22 21:34
 
#2 ThinkFemtocell said: 
T-Mobile have announced they will offer commercial service in Germany around mid 2009, but no firm dates yet for UK customers.

Watch this space though - it's feasible this could be available for you later in 2009.

At this time, your choice of basement coverage solutions in the UK are either:
1) Orange's UMA service which uses WiFi. It is available in the UK, but you have to search it out. You would have to change your handset to a UMA capable model as well as your network provider to Orange, and also use Orange broadband.
2) Buy a repeater. These aren't generally approved by the network operators because they can cause a lot of disruption to other users in your area. They also take a bit of DIY wiring to install.

The make and model of phone doesn't matter much for femtocells, as long as it's 3G capable (most newer handsets are).
0 Quote 2009-02-23 19:17
 
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