The sluggish femtocell market has been given a significant boost with the announcement from SFR that it will offer free units to its 3G subscribers. The French operator is the first in Europe to offer free femtos with the intent of improving indoor coverage for its subscribers.
SFR's femtocell from Ubiquisys
The operator will automatically refund an initial charge of €49 when the device is activated on the SFR network.
According to Ubiquisys, which will be supplying the femtocells to SFR, this move is a real indication of the fresh thinking in Europe to improve indoor coverage. Speaking to FierceWireless:Europe, Keith Day, vice president of marketing for Ubiquisys, said: "It's all about offering premium indoor service, and it's part of SFR's brand promise."
Day said that the femto had been specifically customised by SFR to align with the operator's existing in-home consumer devices. "It can be a standalone femto or plug into SFR's Neufbox ADSL router to provide a femto gateway," said Day.
SFR said in a statement that the new femto can support up to five subscribers and will be available next month.
Iliad's Free Mobile, which is set to launch as France's fourth mobile service early next year, announced in June that it planned to disrupt the market by offering free femtos to attract customers.
- see this SFR press release (translated via Google Translate)
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