Wi-Fi is not a competitor to femtocells growth in home mobile broadband segment?

Telecom Lead Asia: Telecom operators are now considering Wi-Fi as a complimentary technology for using femtocells.

Earlier, Wi-Fi was considered as a competitor to the growth of femtocells in the home.

Telecom operators are also focusing toward a more strategic utilization of femtocells for enhancing mobile broadband experience.

“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.

However, the business model for more sophisticated femtocell services remains a big question mark.

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.

According to Infonetics Research, top drivers for offering residential femtocell services are improving mobile broadband and voice within the home, and offloading data traffic from macro networks.

29 percent of telecom operators surveyed plan to offer FD-LTE femtocell services by 2013.

Service provider respondents project they will have, on average, 211,000 femtocell subscribers by 2013.

Infonetics Research completed interviews with more than 25 percent of the operators in the world that have already launched or plan to launch femtocell services by 2013.

Earlier, TelecomLead.com reported that Airvana has regained its number one position in femtocell equipment market in the first quarter of 2012. Airvana has overtaken Samsung to become the number one player. Airvana grew thanks to strong shipments in N. America.

Samsung is the second largest player. Alcatel-Lucent and Cisco/ip.access are in third and fourth positions, respectively.

Femtocell price erosion is due to a combination of factors, including new component suppliers entering the fray, manufacturing efficiencies, and the continuing scale-up of femtocell shipment volumes.

editor@telecomlead.com