News around femtocells is heating up with major operators issuing RFPs and vendors revealing product. The world's largest operator, Vodafone, is reportedly evaluating at least nine different vendors' products. France Telecom and Sprint have also issued RFPs. Meanwhile, Japan's Softbank held a 3G femtocell proof-of-concept demonstration with several vendors, including Alcatel-Lucent and Motorola. On the infrastructure side, DSL customer premise equipment (CPE) vendor Thomson and Nokia Siemens announced they are collaborating on a 3G femtocell solution.
Billed as an alternative to cellular/WiFi solutions, femtocells are envisioned to enable mobile operators to offer micro-base stations for use in subscribers' homes or offices to deliver voice and data at carrier-grade quality at cheaper costs for operators and customers. The news surrounding femtocells follows last week's creation of the Femto Forum, which aims to standardize femtocells and create an ecosystem. However, we have yet to see big-named vendors such as Alcatel-Lucent, Motorola and Nokia Siemens.