Ericsson prepared to wait for femto price to equal Wi-Fi access points

While Mobile World Congress will have more femtocell products and technology on display than ever before, Ericsson has decided to maintain its long-held view that the market for 3G femtocells remains too small and the price point too high.

According to an interview conducted by Lightreading, Ericsson's VP and head of radio products, Ulf Ewaldsson, believes that Wi-Fi has already won the battle for providing wireless data in the home, leaving the 3G femtocell with a voice-only remit.

However, Ewaldsson claims the company might enter the consumer femtocell market when the price of these units drops to a level where they become competitive with Wi-Fi access points.

"Ericsson has no issue with femtocells," said Ewaldsson. "There is nothing that will stop the company from taking that market with the best product the market has ever seen... If we wanted to do a femtocell, we could go to market in three months. But we have to do things that make sense."

Ewaldsson claims that the company would rather work with partners to develop and manufacture femtocells, with Ericsson providing the chipset module to power the device. "Very few consumer manufacturers have jumped on to the femtocell train. Why? Economics," he says.

The company designed and manufactured its own 2G femtocell in 2007 as part of a home gateway that included a Wi-Fi access point and DSL modem. Little was seen of the product and Ericsson has been quiet on its success.

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