NEW YORK –Broadcom’s recent $86 million acquisition of Percello sends three key messages to the broadband and cellular markets: It validates the fledgling femtocell market; it presents a very plausible scenario for femtocell integrated in a broadband gateway box; and it shows the future of femtocells potentially priced on par with WiFi.
The industry is certainly not there yet. Broadcom would be first to acknowledge that it will still take a few more years for the various plots to thicken.
But at the very least, Broadcom’s entry in the femtocell market verifies that the demand for femtocells is real, here to stay, and no longer the emerging field attractive to only startups such as PicoChip and Percello.
This deal “should take uncertainties out” of carriers worried about the staying power of small companies supplying femtocell chip solutions, noted Greg Fischer, vice president and general manager of Broadcom’s broadband carrier access line of business, in an interview with EE Times.
Fischer explained, “Every carrier has its own rationale and need for femtocells.” While AT&T and SoftBank are leading the way, others are watching carefully what’s working and what’s not working, he added.
While Broadcom takes the long view on the evolving femtocell market, the fabless chip vendor appears well positioned to take advantage of the relationship Percello has already cultivated with Ubiquisys.
Will Strauss, president & principal analyst at Forward Concepts, said, “Percello's biggest customer is Ubiquisys, which is probably the number one in femtocells, shipping in some volume to AT&T, SoftBank and SFR (in France).” Strauss believes Broadcom could “instantly become a leader in the femtocell market.”
Indeed, earlier this year, ABI Research named Ubiquisys the number one femtocell access point vendor. ABI, at that time, also noted the successful transformation of Ubiquisys from a box vendor to femtocell software supplier.
Broadcom’s Fischer made it clear that the initial opportunity for Broadcom is a standalone femtocell market. “Just like a WiFi access point, I see femtocell as a 3G access point,” said Fischer.
Given Broadcom’s strong presence in DSL, cable modem and cable boxes, coupled with the company’s corporate credo (“integration, integration, integration”), industry analysts agree that Broadcom is the most credible company to succeed in integrating a femtocell in another box.
Linley Gwennap, founder and principal analyst of The Linley Group, about a month ago, told EE Times: “The ultimate way to bring down the cost of femtocells is to integrate the femtocell into another box, such as the broadband gateway.” Gwennap added, “A carrier such as AT&T could do this by adding a cellular chip into its wired/wireless DSL gateway and route cellular traffic onto its DSL network.”
Gwennap, then [a month before this acquisition was announced], correctly predicted, “The incremental cost of the femto function would be around $10. This could ultimately require the femto processor to integrate Ethernet and Wi-Fi as well as DSL or cable-modem. Broadcom is the obvious company to develop such a chip.”
I represent SysDsoft who has the fully tested and widely accepted LTE IP stack in addition to IMS and femto eNB.
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let me know if you more technical information.
Price and performance are key in using LTT+IMS with Femto. IF you can run on an ARM nine VS a Cavium network processor then you have the price advantage and if you can provide the best performance in category 3,4 and 5 then you are the leader in market. That is when Voice over LTE and Video over LTE for home makes sense. Only one company I know of who can do all of that. Let me know if you are interested and I will send you information on them since this is not an advertising forum.
Yes, it is very possible. The MetroPCS shows what a nimble strategy could do to extend wireless connection. If they have a major generational leap in engineering, the cost will come down. The opportunities are not just in the US and developed nations, but in developing world where small cells will help penetration.
So femto are really catching up!
One thing for reflection... I've seen that in some VoIP calls software there's a notice which warns the user to not rely on the software and connection for emergency calls. But so far, I think that hasn't applied to cellular wireless calls. But... now with DSL being used to provide 3G connection, I suppose the reliability of the call will drop to same as with the VoIP applications wouldn't it?
VoIP will also have to catch-up to be secure over the TCP/IP protocol.
So only AT&T providing at the moment? How about Verizon? Only GSM or CDMA femtocells also exist? does somebody know? Pricing?
I think the largest impact of femtocells would be in wireless sensor networks...they will be millions, eventually billions of those monitoring every aspects of life and environment: temperature, humidity, pressure, radiation, solar activity, vibration etc...Kris
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.