Many digital and software products these days include an API (Application Programming Interface) which allows 3rd parties and/or the customer to extend and adapt the standard functionality. Could femtocells provide a standard API and what would it offer?
I’ve been reviewing comment feedback on various blogs and news sites regarding Sprint and Verizon’s femtocell offerings. I’ve noticed several clearly differentiated clusters amongst this feedback, and believe these needs to be used and acted on by operator’s marketing teams.
Most 3G UMTS operators have been allocated 10Mhz of paired frequency spectrum (i.e. 10MHz uplink+10MHz downlink), typically in the 2100Mhz range allocated worldwide. This is used with two separate paired WCDMA carriers of 5Mhz each. Wideband CDMA differs from the original mobile CDMA system by using fewer, wider frequency range transmissions – CDMA typically uses carriers with a spread of 1.5Mhz.
Apart from the name, this provides benefits in poor or difficult transmission areas (e.g. built up, urban areas). WCDMA also differs by not requiring the basestation transmissions to be phase synchronised with each other (I think this was to get around a Qualcomm patent), making it more complex but in the long term easier to manage.
It may strike you as odd to think about how to turn femtocells off or dispose of them when the industry is doing its best to roll them out and turn them on. But every product has a lifecycle, and that includes working out what to do when the customer doesn’t pay up, or when the product reaches the end of its natural lifecycle. This wasn’t done when mobile phones first started being upgraded, leaving many unused in drawers or thrown into landfill refuse rather than being recycled.
Will Franks, CTO of Ubiquisys (an independent femtocell access point vendor), is pleased that the Femto Forum has given smaller femto companies a voice in the femto standards. He notes that operators have been largely silent on the state of their femtocell trials and market launch plans, suggests we’ll see “hard launches” during 1H2009 addressing many go-to-market business processes and indicates that some operators are choosing between enterprise and domestic markets for femtocells.
Would you benefit from owning a femtocell in case of a medical emergecny or if your house was burning down? How do femtocells handle emergency calls, and is this better or worse than existing mobile network operation? I’ve drawn some comparisons (and lessons learnt) from existing VoIP services.
Have you seen the latest eBook technology which allows you to store and view many books on a remarkably easy to read display? The Amazon Kindle specifically includes a cellular 3G service which runs on Sprint's network, allowing you to choose and download an eBook almost anywhere in the US. Would eBook users benefit from having a femtocell at home?