The event is undoubtedly the largest and most important in the global mobile industry. Headline figures of more than 50,000 attendees, keynote speakers from all the major businesses and an extensive range of thousands of exhibitors back this up. All the femtocell vendors will be there, many with both their own stands and participating in the Femto Forum's Femtozone.
One of the common concerns about femtocells is that they may use up a lot of broadband internet service, either exceeding a basic allowance or causing additional charges. Let's analyse this with some rough calculations to bring some reality to the debate.
There are something like 3.7 Million cell towers (or basestations) worldwide. How long will it take before domestic femtocells reach that number. I’ve estimated that this could happen during 2010, only 18 months from now, by which time the RF landscape of network operators could be radically different. Read more about my assumptions and implications.
January 2009 has seen a flurry of announcements about femtocell product launches in the US. Sprint has been offering its Airave femtocell since September 2008 and now Verizon Wireless has launched its Wireless Network Extender using the same underlying product. ATT Wireless, not to be outdone, has had a flurry of press activity around its so-called 3G microcell, which is still some months away from availability. We've looked at the overall picture, compared the various offerings and drawn some conclusions.
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.