Femtocell Opinion, comment and reviews

Gold plated femtocell coverage for VIPs

Red Carpet VIP It's a problem as old as the first cellphone network. VIPs insist on excellent coverage and operation in their patch, and operations teams fall into line to meet their requests. How many network CTO's have called their network operations team and complained about a dropped call or poor coverage - expecting it to be resolved quickly? The situation at some network operators has meant that radio planning teams pay special attention to coverage of their C-level managers homes and routes to work. It's said that even the detailed travel plans of VIPs are fed through to radio planning teams to ensure good coverage at premium events.

A cell tower just for you

An example of this is the reported installation of cell towers at the ranch of John McCain, last year's republican US presidential candidate. Living in a remote area had meant poor or non-existent coverage from several networks - an important issue for a presidential hopeful and senator with oversight of the FCC. Both Verizon and AT&T were approached to install celltowers on their land, which would cover their area and some of the local neighbourhood.

After considering but deciding against installation of permanent towers, and after intervention by the US Secret Service,  both companies decided to install portable cell-towers - complete units fitting into a road trailer - at the cost of several tens of thousands of dollars.

Many ordinary citizens would question why they couldn't have the same level of service. Although the ranch owned by the McCains is somewhat larger that the average household, the new technology of femtocells could cover the indoor areas of their property quite easily and effectively - and at a lot lower cost.

One wonders if Sprint or Verizon might consider posting an femtocell unit or two to the ranch for use rather than using portable cell towers - it would be 100 times less expensive than other approaches.

Perhaps we can also expect VIP treatment for poor coverage to a wider range of less important people - we've heard Orange (in Europe) are using their UMA/WiFi solution for customer retention in cases of poor localised indoor coverage, which femtocells (and T-Mobile's hotspot@home) are also able to address.

Gold Plated Femtocells

I came across a gold plated iPhone the other day - it made me wonder how long it will be before gold plated femtocells are also on offer. (These may be less common in the current economic climate).

Perhaps C-Level execs will expect to be amongst the first to receive femtocells after their commercial launch, and operational teams can breath a sign of relief with fewer complaints of indoor coverage problems from their management teams.

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