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Softbank, Alcatel-Lucent collaborate on femtocells
[July 07, 2007]

Softbank, Alcatel-Lucent collaborate on femtocells

(Total Telecom Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Alcatel-Lucent Friday announced it is taking part in trials of femtocell technology with Japanese mobile operator Softbank, as the provider aims to boost in-building mobile coverage. The French equipment vendor said that Softbank will be using Alcatel-Lucent's femtocell solution to test circuit-switched voice calls and the delivery of high-speed data services using Softbank handsets. The announcement comes after it emerged that Softbank is testing similar equipment from a number of providers. The demonstrations, which are taking place between June and December 2007, will also test HSDPA technology using laptops equipped with HSDPA cards. Alcatel-Lucent is just one of eight suppliers that Softbank has chosen to demonstrate femtocell technology since Japan's number three mobile operator was awarded a licence to deliver in-building mobile services in late June. The other companies are ip.access, Motorola, Ubiquisys, Ericsson, Samsung, NEC and Sonus Networks. "GSM has many years left of good use, but for extending [mobile] data services into the home the future is femtocells," said Andy Odgers, vice president of wireless technology at Sonus Networks, speaking at a media presentation Wednesday. Femtocells will improve signal strength, raise overall network capacity and allow mobile operators to extend their service cost effectively, reducing the number of new cell towers needed, said Sonus in a statement. According to Sonus and Alcatel-Lucent, a key ingredient to success in the femtocell market will be the integration of broadband connectivity with mobile network access. "The smaller players that are in the residential gateway market now won't be there in three to five years," said Michel Rahier, president, wireline business group, Alcatel-Lucent, speaking at a press update Thursday. He believes that large network equipment vendors looking to enter the femtocell market with combined broadband and mobile access points will swallow up smaller femtocell providers. However, Odgers said that the focus of larger vendors has been on macro-cellular networks, and that pure femtocell providers are the logical choice for operators trying to improve in-building mobile coverage. Both equipment makers have said this week they expect the first mass deployments of femtocells to begin in 2008, and Rahier said he expects the first hybrid broadband modem and femtocells to be deployed in 2009. Friday's news is the latest in a number of announcements about femtocells. On Tuesday, Nokia Siemens Networks unveiled its first femtocell product, the 3G Femto Home Access Solution, a day after the launch of the Femto Forum an industry body dedicated to driving the deployment of femtocell technology.

Copyright 2007 Terrapinn Ltd

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