One of the leading femtocell chip vendors, picoChip, claims to have developed a reference design with a bill of materials (BOM) of less than US$50. The company said that the new design integrated all the hardware necessary to implement a four- or eight-user residential femtocell--from antenna to backhaul, while only consuming 5W of total power.
According to picoChip's VP of marketing, Rupert Baines, the femtocell market has reached a level of maturity and growth where ODMs need a complete hardware reference design that is optimised to address the key factors of cost and power consumption.
"Our partners can base their product on the proven, low-cost platform to implement their own femtos using picoChip or third party software, and focus their effort on product differentiation."
Baines also highlighted the growing interest from ODMs to integrate femtocell capability into other devices to address a variety of applications and business cases. He confirmed that picoChip would look to develop further reference designs for inclusion in new form factors as these gained ground with operators, such as USB devices.
However, picoChip's new low-cost design will face competition from Ubiquisys which has already launched its FemtoEngine platform--this was used by Sercomm to deliver the first US$100 femtocell earlier this year.
Another UK-based firm, Lime Microsystems, is also homing in on this sector with its latest multiband RF transceiver chip, the LMS6002D, which is optimised for femtocells. In addition, the company has launched a Quick Start Kit that is aimed at providing a way to evaluate and test the LMS6002D--and a reference design.
For more on this story:
- read Rethink Wireless
Femtocells to make breakthrough in 2012, claim researchers
Vodafone Spain targets enterprise users with femtocell launch
Vodafone Greece targets consumers with 3G femtocell service
Operators to offer free femtocells; US$100 price breached