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ABI: Not much luck for femtocells this year

Posted: 07 May 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:femtocell shipment? 3G? cellphone market?

An ABI Research report warns that major electronics and communications companies working to bring femtocells to market won't have great luck cracking the market this year. The firm predicted that just 100,000 femtocell units will be shipped this year.

With more than 20 femtocell development trials currently under way, ABI said development of the units, which soup up cellphone coverage, isn't likely to really get wheeling until 2010, when shipments will likely total tens of millions.

"By 2010, femtocell silicon solutions will have been optimized to the degree that $100 price points for femtocell access points will be within reach, and OEMs' order books will have the volume to sustain critical wholesale price reductions," said Stuart Carlaw, ABI Research's VP and research director, in a statement. "The turning point for this market will be late 2009."

Sensing a big market, several companies have been aggressively expanding their development of femtocells. In recent weeks, Netgear and Tatara Systems announced a program to link Netgear's Femtocell Voice Gateway with Tartara's Convergence Service. The system integrates ADSL2+ modems, routers, 10/100 wired LAN switches, VoIP technology and femtocell 3G technology. Multiple approaches to the market are also under way in several other femtocell projects.

Carlaw said the companies pursuing the market are expected to overcome challenging technical hurdles, but he cautioned developers to fine-tune their business models and service plans so they extend beyond pure fixed-mobile substitution goals.

The research firm expects early femtocell deployments to be dominated by standalone products, while later deployments will likely be carried out with femtocell functionality embedded in multiple products.

- W. David Gardner

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