Feature Article

November 02, 2012

Femtocells Have Potential to Add Value to Mobile Networks

Mobile operators are looking to improve their coverage, and customers also want better service – especially with mobile devices that consume a lot of data. The ideal match is the use of femtocells, according to a survey by Infonetics Research.

“Operators are still very much focused on using femtocells to deliver better voice coverage, but our 2012 residential femtocell survey identifies a shift toward a more strategic utilization of femtocells for enhancing the mobile broadband experience and as a means for delivering value-added services like virtual home phone numbers and media file sharing,” said Richard Webb, directing analyst for microwave, mobile offload and mobile broadband devices at Infonetics.

Infonetics surveyed people in charge of purchase-making decisions in North America, the Europe/Middle East/Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America regions. The participants were asked about current and future femtocell plans, adoption drivers and challenges, femtocell technologies, features, additional services, advertising, marketing, sales strategies, CPE features, form factors, expected revenue, average revenue per user and the number of subscribers.

The main reasons for purchasing femtocells was improving mobile broadband in the home and offload data from the main mobile networks. Other carriers are also starting to see Wi-Fi as a method of offloading data from their networks.

Of the mobile companies surveyed, 29 percent of them planned to deploy FD-LTE femtocells by 2013.

With these optimistic predictions, providers still have to demonstrate that they can sell these femtocells.

“The business model for more sophisticated femtocell services remains a big question mark,” Webb said. “For the market to evolve, vendors need to help operators on pricing and service models so they can drive volumes and enable new service revenue. If it adds up, there’s a real opportunity to leverage the femtocell to put the mobile network at the heart of the home network – something that’s traditionally been beyond the reach of the mobile operator.”

Edited by Braden Becker

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