Strong consumer interest in Femtocells

Despite being almost unknown outside of wireless technology circles, European consumers have expressed a strong interest in acquiring a femtocell to boost indoor 3G reception.

According to a survey of 1,800 mobile and internet users in Poland, Spain, Italy, France, UK and Germany, over 40 per cent said they would definitely or probably plan to make a purchase in the next 12 months after the benefits of improved coverage, improved call quality and lower voice call charges were explained.

The survey, sponsored by Motorola, found that Poland had the highest potential rate of early femtocell adopters with 67 per cent planning to purchase a box, followed by Spain with 62 per cent, Italy with 61 per cent, France and the UK both with 34 per cent, and Germany with 33 per cent. Germany's stance is particularly interesting, given that the country already has very good indoor coverage for 3G, perhaps weakening the potential for femtocells.

However, femtocell technology would appear to be evolving in capability, which may lay the groundwork for greater awareness and potential adoption. Motorola found that femtocells were viewed as an extension to the family media environment, with 51 per cent of respondents interested in a 'family plan' that allowed various members of a household to connect to the femtocell.

Separately, Comcast has announced its intention to pursue WiMAX femtocells as a key to its wireless strategy given that the new Clearwire deal calls for 5 MHz of spectrum across the US to be set aside solely for WiMAX femtocells.

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