Juniper: Demand for improved 3G network coverage to drive femtocells

A new report from Juniper Research says consumer demand for improved 3G network coverage in their homes will be the main impetus for femtocell deployments during the next two to three years. The firm predicts that femtocell subscriptions will surpass 15 million worldwide during 2012.

"Poor indoor signal strength and slow Web access are quite common problems faced by users," said Howard Wilcox, senior analyst at Juniper Research, in a statement. The firm predicts that revenues from femtocells will gain traction from 2011 to reach more than $9 billion by 2014.

Indeed, operators are searching for ways to effectively offload data traffic, which is growing exponentially as more consumers get their hands on smartphones and netbooks. The problem has been highlighted of late by AT&T, which conceded that data traffic from the iPhone is putting a strain on the network.

"Femtocells offer an attractive solution--both for users and network operators who themselves can achieve economies through data traffic offload," Juniper's Wilcox said.

In the U.S., Sprint was the first to introduce a femtocell. Recently, the operator announced that its wholesale group will offer femtocell solutions to its wireless resale partners, and--of more significance to the wireline world--to landline telcos and cable TV companies looking to provide wireless coverage inside customer homes. The wireless carrier is pitching the CDMA-based femtocell solution as a more reliable, higher-quality option than relying on an unlicensed spectrum technology like WiFi. AT&T has said it plans to launch femtocells later this year.

In related news, Qualcomm announced a licensing agreement with Global Wireless Technologies whereby GWT obtains a worldwide patent license to develop, manufacture and sell femtocells that incorporate CDMA2000, W-CDMA and TD-SCDMA 3G technology. The deal also includes multi-mode femtocells that implement any or more of these 3G standards as well as a 4G OFDMA standard.

For more:
- check out Total Telecom
- see this Qualcomm release

Related articles:
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Sprint takes femtocells wholesale
AT&T targeting femto launch for this year
Femtocells: Vendor adopts 'direct to consumer' sales strategy