September 25, 2007
ABI Research: Femtocell Market to Reach its Potential
By Divya Narain, TMCnet Contributing Editor
The much talked about femtocell
market has commenced its growth curve as ip.access, a
manufacturer of picocell and femtocell products, has recently signed an agreement to provide its products to all the subsidiaries of Orascom. At the same time, prominent carriers like SFR, France Telecom (News
), and SoftBank have started trials for such products.
According to Stuart Carlaw, ABI Research (News
) wireless research director, “Current trials will be fundamental in helping the industry move to a common technological approach, finally putting to bed some of the over-exaggerated claims on interference and macro network disruption.” He added, “Indications are already surfacing that a split RNC architecture is beginning to emerge as the preeminent solution, ensuring time-to-market and performance requirements are met.”
It has been predicted in a recent study by ABI Research titled, “Femtocell Access Points
”, that the worldwide sales of femtocells will burgeon to a staggering 36 million units per annum by 2012. The study also estimates that the total shipments during the period between 2008 and 2012 will reach the figure of 74 million.
The challenges presented by interference, cost, management, and business cases might be surmountable but the concerns of IPR, net neutrality, broadband connection quality, and perceived health problems may be more formidable.
Network carriers can employ Femtocells to offload a great deal of the traffic from their network assets to subscriber home-based cells that are backhauled through the IP
core. This gains more significance on account of the increasing amount of time consumers use mobile phones in the home. The operating expense savings from not having to cater to voice traffic alone is reason enough to deploy femtocells.
“Some form of standardization or common drive toward a unified goal would be beneficial to total market conditions,” adds Carlaw. “Fragmented technology markets with low associated volumes do not make cost optimization an easy task.”
The research report points to how femtocells lead to savings on backhaul
costs, enhance in-building coverage, reduce churn, promote migration, and provide a platform for operators to build an effective delivery system for triple- and quadruple-play services.
Divya Narain is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To see more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.