Femtocell unit sales to reach 25m in 2014

According to new research from Informa Telecoms & Media, femtocell technology is experiencing the first signs of maturity with several tier-one operators deploying the technology using a variety of business models. There are currently 12 service commitments, including nine commercial launches and several ongoing trials, while completed trials are now progressing into deployment plans for several mobile operators. This contrasts with eight femtocell service commitments and six commercial launches in November 2009.

In the past quarter, French operator SFR, Portuguese operator OPTIMUS and Chinese operator China Unicom have commercially launched femtocell services and both Japan's KDDI and France's free have also committed to the technology. Additionally, Vodafone has relaunched its femtocell offering under the 'Sure Signal' brand and is realising considerable success in the UK, spearheading the entrance of femtocell services in the European market.

Vodafone rebranded the femtocell service to make the proposition clearer to end users while differentiating from their competition by eliminating indoor coverage deadspots.

"The femtocell market is undergoing rapid growth around the world with Asia, North America and Europe now having multiple deployments each. Global operator demand for femtocells is clearly undeniable. The reason for this is simple--femtocells allow operators to deliver enhanced coverage at home, leading to an improved user experience that would not be economically viable with traditional network upgrades," said Dimitris Mavrakis, Senior Analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media.

As a result of growing operator commitment to the technology, all Tier-1 equipment vendors have now committed to supporting open standards and actively working on integrating femtocell gateways into their solutions.

This is clear evidence of the perceived potential of the market. There have also been advances in regulatory frameworks worldwide. Notable examples include the relaxation of regulations for femtocell installations in Japan and support for femtocells to support mobile broadband capacity by the FCC Chairman, Julius Genachowski, in the US. Article