Commercial 3G femtocell services have been launched by Vodafone Greece aimed at improving residential or SoHo coverage. The launch means Vodafone now has commercial femtocell services in Qatar, Spain and the UK, with Vodafone Greece now joining the UK in targeting the consumer and small office segment.
The company said that the Huawei-manufactured femtocell would be provided free or with a discount to post-paid subscribers. Prepay users or post-paid subscribers that were not eligible for a discount would be charged €150 for the unit.
This pricing could make the Vodafone femtocell unattractive to consumers, as was seen when UK consumers were faced with this level of pricing. The company soon dropped this by around 70 per cent (albeit heavily subsidised), which proved key to attracting consumers to the service.
Unfortunately, the company seems not to have learned from its early experiences with UK consumers, and has also adopted the clunky ‘Vodafone Access Gateway' brand instead of the more easily understood 'Sure Signal' brand name now used in the UK.
Some industry observers have been tempted to comment that Vodafone, which is the leading femtocell pioneer in Europe, is still experimenting with consumer pricing models together with femtocells' role for enterprise and metro use. Its Spanish service is exclusively for enterprise use, while its Qatar femtocells are providing metro coverage.
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