SFR goes commercial with femtos

Having earlier raised doubts over consumer enthusiasm for femtocells, SFR decided the time was right and has become the second operator after Vodafone UK to commercially launch a femtocell product in Europe.

Dubbed ‘SFR Home 3G', the company has positioned the device firmly at consumers looking to improve indoor 3G coverage, and willing to pay €199 for the privilege - a price similar to Vodafone UK's home femtocell which seemingly remains firmly off consumer's wish list.

According to SFR (which is 44 per cent owned by Vodafone), the femtocell is being sourced from UK-based Ubiquisys (Vodafone UK's comes from Alcatel-Lucent of France) and uses silicon developed by picoChip. The device, which SFR claims will offer services such as FMC in the future, also supports Kineto Wireless' femtocell network gateway.

However, the French operator was keen to clarify that this femtocell initiative was not part of a larger strategy to become a quad play operator - as seen with Bouygues Telecom. "We don't need this today, we still do four times as many sales than Bouygues, said CEO Frank Esser. "We will continue to watch this offer but we're in no rush."

Esser said the group is very happy with the commercial dynamic in its mobile operations, having sold more than 500,000 iPhones since it started selling them in April 2009. Esser said the company aims to sell over 600,000 by the end of the year.

For more on this story:
Rethink-Wireless and Total Telecom

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