Femtocell offers are improving as the device costs come down with volume production. In Japan, for example, they are being offered for free to all customers at SoftBank.
They are also being used for enterprise, where they make indoor coverage affordable and enable new mobile centrex solutions.
Do you agree? Read more at the Femtocell Blog http://ubiquisys.com/femtocell-blog/what-is-an-enterprise-femtocell-2/
I just had my first experience with a Femtocell. My daughters college has terrible cell coverage for our provider. We have been a good customer for over 10 years so they sent a Femtocell at no cost. It is recommended to connect it between the modem and router. This was the first problem since the college dorm only provides wireless access. Her roommate had to have cable internet specially installed so she offered to let her connect it to her setup. Second problem it requires GPS and comes with an internal antenna and option 10' wired antenna. Problem is her roommates bedroom has no windows and no GPS signal gets in. I am going to try a Wireless-N Ethernet Bridge. In summary, there are some needed capabilities that do not exist. I would recommend a USB socket that can host a wireless USB adapter.
The Operator would charge less money if your Mobile is connected through Broadband(Femto Cell) as the Basestation Overload decreases and the Base-station can support more users thus enabling the operator to reduce its cost for base-station Inrastructure.
Is the current need for femtocell driven by the fact that 3G works at 2100 MHz, thus offering poor indoor coverage?
Would the need still be there if GSM refarming takes place (offering better RF waves penetration into walls and obstacles)?
Well, actually, what is beginning to happen is, if you complain to Provider A, they may send a free femtocell to your home -- especially if you are already a good customer to them.
It's in the Provider A's best interest to keep you as their customer. And the femtocell shouldn't be that expensive...perhpas as low as $50...
The benefits of femtocells to the carriers is clear, but I don't see how femtocells are an easy sell to consumers.
If Provider A has poor coverage at my house and Provider V has excellent coverage at my house, why would I spend extra money on a piece of hardware to help Provider A fill that hole in his network infrastructure? Why not just switch to Provider V and enjoy the superior network?
Unless of course Provider A offers a particular smartphone that only works on his network, and I am so in love with that phone I will even spend my own money to help build Provider A's network?
Femto cells will sure fulfill the market need for indoor coverage or where cellular signals are weak. The challenge seems to be integration with ubiquitous WiFi. As mentioned in the article, cellular protocol stacks will need to be implemented side by side, inside WiFi gateways, which have a large installed base, to enable penetration in the home and small business market.
In this respect, it will be worhwhile to reconsider almost forgotten technology, Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA), that allows cellular GSM calls to handover to WiFi, whenever, the handset senses a WiFi hot spot, at the discretion of the user. The benefit to user is a free call over WiFi, to the operator, it offloads the cellular radio network. T-mobile has been providing this service in US for last few years, but it seems the glitter of smartphones has eclipsed this technology. Now with femto cells coming, it will be worthwhile to consider the approach of UMA, that could save the cost of implementing cellular stacks on WiFi gateways.
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Right now femtocells are an enabling technology for the cellular carriers, but I can see a day coming when they may be their worst enemy. Assuming that the FCC approves access to white space then it should be straightforward to switch femtocells into those bands rather than the cellular-controlled ones. Add in smartphones with VoIP clients and appropriate handoff protocol standards and suddenly cellular service is looking like an infrastructure-laden dinosaur...
I have seen some products based on femtocell technology. One such product is a femtocell basestation with USB - just plug into your desktop/laptop and you can you your mobile phone to make calls (via VOIP of course). This will indirectly have impact on mobile operators in the future as well?