In what is expected to be the first 3G femtocell service in Europe, the #2 operator in France, SFR, is thought to be preparing a soft launch this September most likely using equipment sourced from Ubiquisys.
SFR, which is part-owned by Vodafone, is reported to be relying heavily on the involvement of the fixed-line operator Neuf Cegetel (which it part owns) given its position as the #2 DSL provider in France with 3.3 million subscribers.
This move by SFR to be the pioneer of 3G femtocell services is seen as taking advantage of the advanced state of the French telecoms market. The country has very high-speed broadband services, consumers have adopted home gateways with alacrity, and cell phone users have a good understanding of FMC services--largely thanks to the popularity of France Telecom's Unik service.
For more on this story:
- read Unstrung
T-Mobile plans Femtocell trials. T-Mobile story
Vodafone trials Femtocells in Spain. Vodafone story
Nokia Siemens looks to slash femtocell prices. NSN story