While femtocell cynics might claim developers are always promising the market is about to explode, one of the leading suppliers of the devices, Ubiquisys, has raised US$11 million to prepare for a rush of large-scale commercial deployments it claims will begin later this year.
According to Chris Gilbert, the company's CEO, operators are about to enter a femtocell launch cycle this autumn. "The femtocell industry is about to enter a phase of aggressive growth," said Gilbert. "Securing this funding, against the current economic backdrop, underlines our investors' commitment to the company's technology and reaffirms our position as pioneers of the femtocell market." This most recent round of funding now totals US$53 million since the company started in August 2006.
Gilbert maintains that a meaningful number of large operators are about to enter the ‘soft launch' phase with femtocells. This will see devices provided to between 2,000 and 3,000 paying subscribers so operators can tune their infrastructure, billing and marketing plans to support nationwide deployments. "We're developing and building resources and equipment to support these rollouts." said Gilbert.
The company also stated that it would have its new femtocell device - which is smaller than today's iPhone but has significantly improved technical capabilities, ready for mass production by February 2010.
For more on this story:
Femtocells: T-Mobile and Orange remain sceptical
Femtocells go commercial with T-Mobile in Germany
Femtocells: Vodafone sets the pace with European launch
Femtocells: 3G interference issues can be solved
Femtocell LTE business outlined, as Motorola rethinks strategy