Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) and Ubiquisys have joined forces to encourage the greater use of standards-based femtocells, and plan to start selling a combined package from the start of next year.
The two firms, which are hailing the agreement as a milestone for femtocells, believe this move will see the availability of the world's first 3GPP standard compliant femtocell system. "This marks a kick-off for a whole new era of standard based femtocells; [making them] inter-compatible across company borders," said Timo Hyppölä, head of 3G Femto product management for NSN. "I think it is of note for the industry that the femtocell standard, so much discussed, is now turning into a reality."
At the heart of the deal, NSN and Ubiquisys have agreed to use the standardised Iuh and TR-196 interfaces between the femtocell and NSN's Femto Gateways and Femto Management systems--meaning no changes are needed to the core network elements. The two firms said that the joint solution will have been tested by several operators before being released in the first quarter of 2011.
"Together we're responding to operator demand for a sophisticated yet standardised femtocell solution, one that can deal with shared spectrum deployment and that provides complete flexibility in small cell deployments," said Chris Gilbert, CEO of Ubiquisys.
NSN's Hyppölä has denied that this agreement means any change to the company's femtocell strategy, and that it remains committed to cooperating with a number of partners to drive an open femtocell ecosystem.
Displaying an equal amount of 'impartiality', Keith Day, VP of marketing for Ubiquisys, said that it would continue to conduct interop with other vendors as well. "We will also see many more variants of femtocell hardware as operators are freed from the idea of just one kind of access point."
This NSN move comes after its partnership with Airvana collapsed following the decision by the US-based developer to halt working on 3G femtocells.
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