Tuesday 1 December 2009

Experiences and Lessons from Early Femtocell Deployment

From IEEE Communications Magazine, September 2009:

There is a continuous pursuit by mobile operators (MOs) to improve indoor coverage in order not only to improve voice quality but also to enable higher data rates in home/office environments. Indoor coverage improvement, in conjunction with inexpensive (voice) offerings, will enable MOs to compete with and take away voice-call-related revenues from fixed network PTTs and/or VoIP operators. Femtocells constitute a promising solution to address all of the above. In this article we present our experience from our extensive study and trials of early (pre-standard) femtocell solutions that were available in the 2007-2008 timeframe.

Our as well as other operators’ involvement and experience with pre-standard femtocell solutions has revealed some of their early drawbacks that restrained them from massive-scale commercial launches. However, the accumulated experience from all these trials as well as the recent standardization activities in 3GPP/3GPP2 will lead to a new generation of standardized femtocell solutions and raise the expectation for commercial market success for
operators and vendors alike. It is envisaged that initially, femtocells will be utilized for coordinated coverage extension purposes (e.g., public areas) and niche markets (high-value customers, enterprise packages), rather than mass market commercial offerings. Upon the advent of standardized 3G-femto solutions, the increase of competition at FAP level (models, volume availability, cost reduction) will contribute to the extensive commercialization of femtocells, which will be further boosted by the introduction of LTE home Node-Bs.

The complete paper is available here in pdf format.

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