Femtocells: O2 delays commercial launch, prepares for more trials

Having already conducted consumer and equipment trials earlier this year, Telefónica O2 is now looking to another femtocell pilot early next year. This retesting will mean O2 will miss its earlier forecast of a commercial femtocell launch during Q1/09.

The femtocells developer Ubiquisys, which took part in O2's trial this year, said a phased approach should not be unexpected and would be typical of the way operators evaluate new technologies and products, such as femtocells. "With lab trials, internal tests and commercial pilots, you would expect separate discreet stages," said the company's VP of marketing, Keith Day.

The conclusion that other operators interested in deploying femtocells might draw from this delay, given that O2 has been a firm advocate for the technology, is that the business case for 3G home access points and services remains in question. This might also bring into doubt reports that 2010 would be the year of significant deployments for femtocells in Europe.

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