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2008 Femtocell End of year Report Card

Report Card At the end of every school year, it’s normal for children to return home with a written report on their effort and attainment. We’ve given marks for the femtocell industry overall, with some suggestions for 2009. If it’s bad news, best for the child to immediately disappear up to study arduously – if it’s good, then celebrations all round. I’d say the femto industry can give itself a well deserved “pat on the back” and raise a glass for its achievements this year.

 

Femtocell technology works. But why would you want it?

Femtocell Jigsaw Femtocell technology works. Costs are still high, needing mass market adoption to achieve the required price point. The business case for the operator looks good. But the industry is still trying to nail down the compelling reasons  for the customer to buy it.

 

The reality of Dual-Mode WiFi on the street

Nokia 6301 UMA phone How easy is it to buy femtocell-like service today? I thought I'd enquire about Orange's "Unique" service which offers similar functionality using to femtocells, using WiFi in your house and a special dual-mode WiFi/Cellular phone. My experience didn't make me rush to sign up, and flags up several issues which femtocell operators will need to address in their sales and marketing operations.

Alternative Packaging formats for Femtocells

Femtocell Picture Frame Packaging Motorola executives are said to be considering alternative packaging formats for femtocells. Combining a picture frame with a femtocell could help improve its positioning and performance. Rather than being tucked away in a closet or in the basement, it would be given prime location in the main living areas.

What other packaging formats might be worthwhile considering?

What's inside Orange's 3G UMA WiFi Service - A direct competitor for femtocells?

ImageOrange proudly announced they were first to market with a dual-mode 3G UMTS/WiFi phone last week. Available immediately in France, the service will be rolled out to Poland, Spain and UK later this year. Is this just another dual mode cellular/WiFi phone - or does it incorporate the technical changes within the network infrastructure which improve data throughput, latency and add a couple of extra services?

Can femtocells cross the workphone and personal phone divide?

Market share femtocell It's remarkably common these days to see people with two mobile phones. One provided by work; another for personal use. Often the work mobile is a basic model, frequently without 3G capability, and used for voice and text services only. The personal mobile is likely to have many more features, be much more stylish, with camera, music and location capabilities.

Femtocell Testing Needs

Femtocell Test Equipment Femtocells, like many new technologies, are maturing and overcoming the technical obstacles which have arisen during trials and testing. Increasing intelligence and self-tuning of these smartboxes ensures minimum disruption of the existing macrocellular network. RF propagation studies have shown the impact and feasibility of high traffic levels in areas of heavy takeup.

UMA operators won't switch to Femtocells

Femtocell UMA WiFi Evolution In a recent interview, Lauren Town, Head of Marketing at Orange, said the operator was not looking to replace its current Unik WiFi UMA service with 3G femtocells. What is the likely evolutionary path for existing UMA services and can they co-exist with femtocells?

The Femtocell MegaHub

Femtocell Mega Hub Will femtocells be consumed into a central Mega-Hub for each household? We are already seeing products which combine broadband modems, routers, print servers and femtocells in one box - is more consolidation likely?

The Secret Sauce inside femtocells

Femtocell Secret Sauce What is the “secret sauce” that femtocell vendors add to the mix. With major component vendors such as picoChip providing reference designs for femtocells, you may think there is little to be done apart from assembling the components. Femtocell vendors on the other hand seek to differentiate themselves by adding value with specialist expertise.

Intellectual Property: The hidden tax on Femtocells

Femtocell Tax Intellectual Property is the “other meaning” of the term IP (sometimes also known as IPR for Intellectual Property Rights). How will this "tax" apply to femtocells and derived products? [Note: Earlier link error fixed - click through to view the article]

Growing diversity of femtocell vendors

Femtocell vendor diversity In a recent exclusive interview with ThinkFemtocell.com, Manish Singh, VP Product Management for Continuous Computing revealed their company has an astonishing 23 active engagements in the femtocell marketplace. This suggests that many more "undeclared" vendors may be joining the fray having identified strong market potential.

Femtocells - It's all or nothing

Femtocells need critical mass to be viable  An important part of the business case for femtocells for operators is to offload their macrocellular network, so they don’t need to invest as much in their basestations. If a large part of the network traffic is handled locally by femtocells and connected through customer’s own broadband internet, then significantly less investment will be required. Less additional radio equipment on each cellsite, less backhaul (transmission from the cellsites to the operator’s main switching centres) and potentially reducing the need for additional sites in heavily congested areas.

Femtocells become DSL modems ?with fries?!

Femtocells with fries Although many initial models of femtocells are standalone devices, which connect via Ethernet to a broadband IP modem, several vendors have already developed integrated DSL modem/WiFi/VoIP and 3G femtocell products. These include major DSL modem players partnering with the small independent femtocell vendors, such as Netgear/Ubiquisys, Thomson/Airvana and the larger players such as Alcatel-Lucent/Sagem.

Femtocells are irrelevant in many countries

India Femtocell I visited India this week. What’s that got to do with femtocells, you may ask? The point is that the country which will shortly become No.2 by subscribers (ahead of US, behind China) is quite unsuitable for 3G femtocells both now and in the foreseeable future. This focuses the mind on some market segmentation for femtocells.

Femtozones offer personalised services at low cost, high performance

Femtozones enables the home Femtozones are additional services enabled within the coverage footprint of a femtocells. For our purposes, we’ve excluded any changes or updates to other equipment in the home which involves a much more integrated/managed network solution. All that’s required for a femtozone is to install and connect a 2G or 3G femtocell at the user’s home or office and connect it to broadband. This means that any of the main femtocell system architectures can be used to provide femtozones.

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    Residential

    Residential

    A significant number of users continue to report poor mobile coverage in their homes. There will always be areas which are uneconomic for mobile operator to reach. They range from rural areas

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    Enterprise

    Enterprise

    The term Enterprise addresses any non-residential in-building including hotels, convention centres, transport hubs, offices, hospitals and retail outlets. It's not just intended for businesses to

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    Urban

    Urban

    Urban small cells (sometimes also named metrocells) are compact and discrete mobile phone basestations, unobstrusively located in urban areas. They can be mounted on lampposts, positioned on the

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    Rural

    Rural

    A rural small cell is a low power mobile phone base station designed to bring mobile phone service to small pockets of population in remote rural areas. These could be hamlets, small villages or

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