The commercial deployment of femtocells has increased several notches with announcements from three mobile operators that they plan to use femtocells to improve 3G coverage. However, each operator is approaching the deployment of the technology in a different manner.
Firstly, as reported by Unstrung, Orange UK and Orange France plan to launch an enterprise femtocell service next year, having already selected Huawei and NEC as suppliers. According to Robert Swift, head of voice marketing at Orange's enterprise line of business, the service will be targeted at SMEs and large corporate customers with no plans for a residential femtocell service. Downplaying the capabilities of the technology, Swift said that Orange did not want to put any commercial offer behind the service because not everyone needs it. "We don't want to give the impression that you need a femtocell to enjoy these 3G services."
Starhub in Singapore says that its Home Zone service will be the first commercial 3G femtocell network in the world, and was designed to enable subscribers to access high-speed data services indoors such as streaming video, IPTV, video conferencing and mobile broadband.
Chunghwa Telecom in Taiwan is claiming that its femtocell network will be the first deployed in the country with the aim to improve 3G coverage. The operator will be using femtocell equipment developed by Alcatel-Lucent which incorporates the company's service routers and Home Device Manager from Motive, now part of Alcatel-Lucent. The company will also be responsible for the deployment, project management and end-to-end network integration for the project.
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