Having completed several trials with femtocells, and invested in the UK-based femtocell manufacturer Ubiquisys, T-Mobile plans to launch a commercial service using the technology by mid-year in Germany.
According to Bernhard Scholl, head of T-Mobile's coverage and transmission design, following tests around a year ago in Cologne and Bonn, the company now feels that femtocells are ready for commercial launch, but only on a restricted scale. "Units will not be sold in retail outlets, and only a selected number of customers will be chosen for this first commercial deployment as there are still a number of technical issues that need to be resolved before femtocells are viable in the mass market."
Vodafone, which has also conducted femtocell trials in a number of European countries, is said to be expanding its trials of repeaters following the success by Vodafone Egypt to improve voice and 3G data performance in areas of poor coverage. The new trials are again taking place in several European locations, although the company has admitted it would continue to evaluate both femtocells and repeaters.
T-Mobile pilots femtocells in Germany
T-Mobile invests in (another) femtocell developer
Denmark's largest operator puts femtos to the test
3 selects repeaters to improve in-building 3G data coverage