News From Telecom World

Femtocell: Technology of future

Posted on: November 25, 2008

As part of our emerging technology series, this post reviews Femtocells technology, which is expected to join the mainstream in coming years. Femtocells, which improve cell phone coverage, are low-power wireless access points (small devices) that operate in licensed spectrum to connect standard mobile devices to a mobile operator’s network using residential DSL or cable broadband connections.

Femtocells are a cheaper way to improve coverage for the operators and provides another way to offer the elusive fixed-mobile convergence. Why build expensive towers when cheaper devices can be used at consumer homes? For network operators, this allows to shifts the investment to a wider market and could be helpful when considering large investments such as 3G.

These devices need power and that is a challenge in developing telecom markets (such as Pakistan) with unreliable power supply.

A BusinessWeek report describes how the US carriers are planning to introduce the service:

The carriers will ask consumers to pay about $100 for a device slightly smaller than a toaster. The tiny tower will connect with up to five cell phones in the home and carry calls through a broadband Net connection to the telephone network. Subscribers will likely pay ongoing monthly fees for the “enhanced service” as well.

It’s easy to understand why wireless operators like femtocells. The technology lets them shift some of the burden of adding wireless capacity to their customers. Carriers pay for traditional cell-phone towers themselves, of course, and the costs can hit $500,000 per tower.

Carriers are working on ways for the technology to make financial sense for consumers, too. Their most compelling offer may be to make the service cheap enough and reliable enough that it can replace traditional landlines.

Femto Forum provides further information:

Using femtocells solves these problems with a device that employs power and backhaul via the user’s existing resources. It also enables capacity equivalent to a full 3G network sector at very low transmit powers, dramatically increasing battery life of existing phones, without needing to introduce WiFi enabled handsets.

A recent study from ABI Research forecasts that by 2011 there will be 102 million users of femtocell products on 32 million access points worldwide.

Writer: Babar Bhatti

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1 Response to "Femtocell: Technology of future"

[…] Femtocells should be cheap enough and reliable enough to replace landlines […]

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