In an unusual switch, the Edinburgh-based femtocell developer, HSL, has adopted a sales strategy that involves cutting out the mobile operator and selling the micro base station direct to the consumer.
This move, seen by some as high-risk, comes after Vodafone's launch of its own femtocell product was received by subscribers with huge disinterest. Also, given the marketing power of Vodafone, HSL is strangely not attempting to undercut on price--its product, with a rather consumer-friendly branding of HSL 2.75G, is priced very similar to Vodafone's Home Gateway device at around €180.
However, the company claims that its femtocell can work with any network operator, or even multiple network operators, over a user's own broadband connection. But, to do this, HSL needs radio spectrum in which to operate, and integration into the network-operator's back end infrastructure--neither of which is trivial.
HSL believes it can overcome these hurdles by persuading possible consumers to register their interest on the company's web site. Using this, HSL plans to convince mobile operators to route calls through their network--why they should provide this service is not detailed by HSL.
However, MD and technical director of HSL, Mark Hay, said that the installation and use of the network would not cost operators very much and would allow them to manage their service better so that customers receive the best coverage that is possible given their locations.
The company has confirmed that it is pursuing agreements with operators in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Oceania with regard to its femtocell product.
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