SFR offers femtocell add-on to set-top box

SFR has launched a new home gateway in an attempt to position the company as the leading quad-play provider in France. Of note, the new IPTV set-top, branded the Neufbox Evolution, will support an add-on femtocell module with the ability to connect five 3G handsets.

The company, which is marketing the Neufbox Evolution as a true media centre for the home--allowing access to content on PCs, memory cards, external hard discs, network-attached storage (NAS) and UPnP compatible devices--said that the femtocell module would be launched early next year as a plug-in upgrade.

SFR also confirmed that the new set-top has a completely revamped UI to enable the consumer to more easily access not only locally based content, but also to numerous web services. The new UI has been developed by Wyplay--the same company, interestingly, that has been responsible for the hybrid set-top boxes for Vodafone in Italy and Spain.

Also included with the set-top is a 3G USB modem, albeit costing an additional €1 per month on top of the €34.90 monthly fee, to enable the cellular data network to be used as a backup to access the IPTV and phone service if problems are encountered with the normal ADSL or fibre connections.

While SFR has yet to announce the price and data tariff for the femtocell module, this move marks a significant step forward with the integration of cellular technology into home gateway devices.

SFR has already gained some experience with femtocells having launched a standalone device from Ubiquisys in November 2009.

For more:
- see this Broadband TV News article

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