Tuesday 9 September 2008

Which is the year of Femtocell: 2009, 2010 or 2011?

In the beginning of the year, I listed the technologies that would be successful in 2008. According to that 2008 was setting the stage for Femtocells and 2009 will be the year when it would be rolled out mass market. According to this report from Heavy Reading (via Unstrung), this is not going to happen.

Most operators do not plan to roll out commercial femtocell services until late 2009 and 2010

The "Femtocell Deployment and Market Perception Study" reveals that early 2010 will be the critical period for commercial trials of the tiny home base stations as operators prepare for full launches later that year or in 2011. This does not necessarily mean that mass market deployments will start in 2010, but rather early commercial activity will ramp up at this time.

Among the 111 responses from the 79 operators surveyed, 54 percent said that they planned to launch services between the second half of 2009 and the end of 2010, and 33 percent said their commercial femtocell launches were scheduled for 2011 or later.

This may dismay quite a few people in the Femtocell market as they have been expecting things to happen sooner rather than later. Lack of standards and interference have been cited as the main reason for delay but I think that both these issues are not critical for delaying the deployment. One of the other less well known reasons is the doubt of it succeeding and lack of demonstrable Femtozone applications that may be used to bill Femtocell as a must have gadget.

According to the same report: the operators surveyed also ranked their perceptions of femtocell equipment suppliers. Alcatel-Lucent got top marks among the large vendors, while ip.access Ltd. was the highest ranked among the smaller femto vendors.

I have seen and used atleast one of the Femtocell and what an amazing thing it is!

I am also in process of studying the areas where Femtocells are going to face practical problems when they are rolled out. Any input on this is welcome.

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