Femtocell market update: slow but steady progress

Date: March 23, 2010
Pages: 23
US$ 1,495.00
Publisher: Ovum
Report type: Strategic Report
Delivery: E-mail Delivery (PDF)

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Femtocell market update: slow but steady progress
Femtocells took a break from the limelight in 2009 as operator trials took place behind closed doors. They are now reappearing in the public domain, but this is not a sign of an impending rapid increase in uptake. Rather it is a sign of increasing technical maturity and growing comfort among operators about the technology and business case - with some important reservations attached.
Executive summary
In a nutshell
Key messages
Ovum view
Market update: commercial launches and trials grow steadily
Twelve commercial launches show femtocells have arrived – but only just
Femtocell potential will be realized slowly over the next two to three years
Competition drives operator uptake, but only so far
Vodafone UK takes femtocells to the mass market
Number of trials expected to grow throughout 2010 and beyond
A “trial” can take many forms
Alternatives are gaining prominence and should not be ignored
Wi-Fi: offload has short-term potential
Repeaters get smarter
Distributed antennae systems challenge in the picocell and LTE spaces
Business model update: operators keep it simple
Pendulum swinging back towards the engineering department
Coverage becomes the de facto first stage of deployment, followed by HomeZone
Today’s offers keep it simple with coverage
HomeZones take coverage to the next level
Capacity offload will take time to make an impact
LTE femtocell deployments will still need fiber
Home gateway integration remains the most attractive long-term femtocell role
Openness delays integrated approach
Femtocell applications remain unconvincing
Access points are just part of the cost issue
Integration costs are a critical consideration, but often overlooked
Technology update: issues being resolved – for now
Interference concerns fading, but likely to make a comeback
Interoperability is assumed
Femtocells aligned with LTE standards, but “LTE femtocell networks” are unlikely


Table 1: Active or announced commercial femtocell offerings (as of March 2010)
Table 2: Announced femtocell trials (as of March 2010)
Table 3: Sample commercial femtocell access point and service costs (as at March 2010)


Figure 1: The femtocell business case jigsaw
Figure 2: Femtocell business case timeline
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