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January 07, 2009

ABI Releases New Report on Super Femtocells

ABI Research has released a new report on femtocells. Part of the Femtocells Research Service, the research brief examines the definitions of a super femtocell, how it differs from a home-grade femtocell, and its similarity to the next-generation picocell.
According to the research brief, the market has traditionally focused on residential femtocells. But more enterprises are calling for a femtocell solution that is specifically tailored to meet its needs. ABI analysts stress that femtocell vendors can no longer ignore the enterprise market, which although smaller than the home market is still sizable in terms of revenue and will continue to grow.
ABI analysts point out that there is a requirement for an enterprise-grade device that looks and feels like a femtocell. Presently, residential femtocells lack capacity, coverage area and enterprise grade features. In the case of traditional picocells, their high costs of ownership are a deterrent for enterprises.
According to the report, companies are now focusing on developing a super femtocell to combat the shortcomings of the femtocell and the picocell.
ABI Research (News - Alert) Senior Analyst Aditya Kaul states, "Super femtocells combine the larger capacity of the picocell with the lower cost and ease of installation of the residential femtocell. According to a new ABI Research Brief, the resulting market will grow from almost zero today to slightly more than 500,000 units in 2013."
Describing the features of the super femtocell, the research brief explains that a single super femtocell with eight or 16 channels has the capacity to meet the needs of SMEs with 50 or 100 employees and does not require complicated handoffs.
Further, unlike home femtocells, these devices include enterprise-specific features such as IP PBX (News - Alert) support, short code dialing, 802.1x security authentication, QoS, redundancy, and service continuity as well.
Operators have yet to agree on all features of the super femtos. According to the research data released by ABI, there is still a debate on whether super femtos should be made auto-configurable or will have semi-automatic configurability.
Kaul points out that it is the market forces that will ultimately determine the exact set of super femto feature sets and configurability.
The report also specifies that trials of super femto products are being conducted in different countries by various mobile operators including Vodafone in Spain, Orange in France and Mobilkom of Austria. Huawei (News - Alert) is the only vendor currently shipping a 16-channel femto product, the report states.
The report studies why such a device is required, its application areas and how it compares to the grid-based femtocell approach which is being suggested by some femtocell vendors.
Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users. Today’s featured white paper is Fixed Service Strategies for Mobile Network Operators, brought to you by Comverse (News - Alert).

Nitya Prashant is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Nitya's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Michelle Robart
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