Femtocells to become cheaper with new chip

picoChip has launched a cheaper chip for femtocells, which help the hyped technology happen, according to Techworld.


Femtocells need to be available, in volume, to operators for under €62 (US$100) each if they are to become a mainstream consumer technology, the article says. The industry was not expecting this price point to be reach before 2009 or 2010.


picoChip's PC302 system-on-a-chip (SoC) should take the bill of materials for a femtocell down to around €38.52 (US$60) in 2009, the company claims. This is due to the higher level of integration than the current PC200 series - on which most femtocell devices are built - and it picoChip's fabrication from 90nm CMOS process to 65nm.


The PC302 supports HSPA, with downlinks up to 14.4Mbps and uplinks of 5Mbps, allowing up to four handsets to connect. Future products in the family will support WiMax.


Rivals Airvana and Radioframe, which make silicon for their own base stations, are said to be working on femto chips that can be used by third parties. This will provide some welcome competition to picoChip as well as potentially speed up the production of sub US$100 femtocells.