SK Telecom to deploy next-generation femtocell for data offload

Picochip announced it has been chosen to supply the technology for the second wave of femtocell access points (APs) 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. The operator launched the initial service last year and announced last month that it is expanding deployment with the second-generation femtocell, known as 2FA, aiming to install 10,000 femtocells by the end of 2011.The 2FA femtocell can serve up to 16 simultaneous users and offers data rates of up to 42Mbps in addition to 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi. It supports 3GPP Release 8, including the open interface standard Iuh.

"Femtocells are now being seen by many network operators as an integral part of their network strategy and the commercial launch by SK Telecom shows how successful they are in dealing with rapidly increasing data usage," said JangAhn Kwon, chief marketing officer with Contela, in a release.

Rupert Baines, vice president of marketing with Picochip, said that while SKT has publicly stated plans to install 10,000 femtocells, the actual number is far greater, which means the Wi-Fi element alone will make the deployment one of the biggest metro Wi-Fi deployments in the world.

For more:
- see this release

Related articles:
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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