Femtocell Market to Boom as AT&T Climbs Aboard

(29 Mar 2010, BWCS Staff)

US mobile giant AT&T Wireless has announced plans to jump on the femtocell bandwagon. From the middle of next month, the operator will roll out the service in phases across the US. AT&T has been running pricing trials since September last year in selected markets across the south and south west of the USA.

AT&T will be the third operator in the US to offer femtocell connections, behind Sprint and Verizon. The AT&T service, called 3G Microcell, will work with 3G phones, while Sprint and Verizon still only support second generation phones on their femtocells.

According to figures from iSuppli, the market for femtocells is about to take off in a rather impressive way. The number of units shipped worldwide will rise to 1.9 million this year, up from a paltry 571,000 in 2009. By 2011 the research company projects that global shipments will reach 7.2 million units in 2011, and 23.9 million in 2012.

In a statement Francis Sideco, principal analyst for wireless research at iSuppli said "Throughout the wireless supply chain, companies are busy mobilizing to provide solutions for femtocells, which resemble WiFi routers in appearance. Instead of enabling wireless local area networks, however, femtocell base stations improve 3G coverage inside buildings or home-locations where wireless signals tend to be weak because of building materials blocking the signal or the site's distance from a cell tower."

The growth will be driven by a mixture of commercial service launches from major mobile carriers around the world and improved products from manufacturers.


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