LONDON – The market for enterprise and consumer femtocell equipment for communications, also referred to as indoor small cells, will be flat in 2012 in terms of volumes compared with 2011, according to market research firm ABI Research.
ABI expects 2.44 million unit shipments in 2012 compared with 2.47 million units shipped in 2011 and by the end of 2012 a total of 5.3 million units will have been deployed.
"Silicon component suppliers have suggested that 1Q 2012 shipments were down 30 to 40 percent compared to 1Q 2011," said Aditya Kaul, practice director at ABI Research, in a statement.
In spite of lackluster volume shipments of residential and enterprise femtocells plaguing the indoor small cell market in 2011 and 2012, ABI Research forecasts that growth is likely to pick up from 2013 onwards.
The recent exit of Huawei from the femtocell business was evidence that the market has been under strain.
ABI believes that despite negative growth in 2012 the market will show a compound annual growth rate of 63 percent to reach almost 28 million units in 2017 with a value of $3.4 billion. Consumer femtocells are the biggest proportion of the market representing a 68 percent share of units in 2012 and expected to be 70 percent in 2017.
IC component suppliers want this market to take off as do many other suppliers to the market.But who is actually trying to create user demand.
Given the fact that service providers have as much appeal to the average US citizen as Congress does I doubt people will buy these devices.
I have two suggestions on this subject. The first is that femtocells owned and operated by the cellcos will probably become a lot more popular in the future, as a way of making better use of spectrum. They might be mounted on street lamps or on telephone poles, in the more congested parts of a cellular market. And they will create a seamless cell structure with that telco's macrocells.
The other suggestion is, with handheld devices capable of roaming from 3G/4G networks to WiFi networks, why one earth would a homeowner need to install his own femtocell? Don't domestic femtocells use the homeowner's broadband link as a backhaul anyway? Might as well go to the Internet with the existing WiFi access point, rather than introduce that redundant 3G/4G link inside the home.
ABI Research is simply wrong here. The lackluster volume shipments of residential and enterprise femtocells plaguing the indoor small cell market in 2011 and 2012 is here to stay. They should be smart to understand that users do not need this tool.
ABI keeps on over calling various forms of the femtocell equipment market.
I still don't quite understand why cellular operators think service users will pay for infrastructure equipment and power it up.
I know the argument is they will do it for improved service and it is only the same as buying a wireless router for Wi-Fi connectivity.
But with Wi-Fi if all routers nearby are password protected if you don't do it you have no service.
With cellular, the cells are not password protected, and you are used to service albeit of variable quality. It is clearly the service operators' job to strive to improve it.
I would be reluctant to pay once for inadequate service and they to have to pay for infrastructure just to get the service level up.
But that is me