Femtocells outnumber 3G macrocells

Informa Telecoms & Media's newest femtocell market status report shows that more than 2.3 million 3G femtocells have been deployed globally compared with 1.6 million 3G macrocells.

Informa said more than 31 commercial femtocell services exist worldwide, representing more than a 60 percent growth in deployments during the past quarter. Eight of the top 10 mobile operator groups (by revenue) now offer femtocell services, which includes AT&T (NYSE:T), France Telecom, NTT DoCoMo, Sprint (NYSE:S), Telefonica, Deutsche Telecom, Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone Group.

Informa forecasts the femtocell market to reach 48 million access points worldwide by 2014 thanks to the fact that operators are looking to small cells as a way to deploy LTE networks. Earlier this month, Picochip announced it was chosen to supply the technology for the second wave of femtocell access points from South Korean femtocell vendor Contela. The second-generation APs will be used by SK Telecom as a small-cell data offload solution in high-traffic areas and combine a 16-user dual-carrier HSPA+ femtocell with Wi-Fi. SKT plans to deploy the femtocell APs in high-traffic areas such as cafés, shopping malls, train stations, offices and apartment blocks.

"Femtocells haven't just passed a major milestone - it is now apparent that they are rapidly becoming less of a differentiator for service providers and more like an essential offering. Consumers are increasingly going to expect something that for a long time seemed impossible--near ubiquitous coverage for voice and high speed data. Femtocells make this a very real possibility," Dimitris Mavrakis, senior analyst with Informa Telecoms & Media, said in a release.

For more:
- see this release

Related articles:
SK Telecom to deploy next-generation femtocell for data offload
Juniper Research: Data offload to grow to over 60% by 2015
Wi-Fi offload for mobile networks: 20% of traffic and counting
SK Telecom to light up LTE in July using homegrown cloud-based network deployment

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