Femtocells: Vodafone trials consumer femto in public spaces

Having achieved a level of success with its consumer-focused Sure Signal femtocell, Vodafone UK is understood to be testing the device to provide coverage in hotels and other public spaces.

The company's CTO, Jeni Mundy, admitted that trials were already underway using the Sure Signal box to better understand its performance in providing cellular coverage within a finite footprint such as hotels, train stations and other small, but densely populated, public venues.

The CTO confirmed that no end date for the trials had been set, but, if successful, they could then be deployed on a wide scale similar to that from BT which offers Openzone Wi-Fi on users' HomeHubs through its FON programme

Vodafone also admitted that the Sure Signal femtos might be upgraded in the future following complaints from some subscribers over the price of the box and its performance in providing coverage in some older houses.

"We're constantly working with our manufacturing partners [about issues such as these]," said Mundy, "We were the first to bring such a device to market so we have a lot of influence. Our roadmap [for the Sure Signal unit] is to listen to a lot of customers and feed it back to the manufacturing process."

While 2010 might not have seen femtocells meet shipment expectations, the technology is expected to form a US$4.6 billion market by 2014, recording an estimated CAGR of over 80 per cent from 2009 to 2014. The US market is expected to account for nearly 41.1 per cent of the total revenues.

For more:
- see this TechRadar article

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