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LTE rollout to boost picocell, femtocell markets

Posted: 30 Sep 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Long Term Evolution? picocell? femtocell? LTE market?

A new report from ABI Research forecasts that femtocells and picocells will form an integrated part of the initial rollouts of Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks.

The cellular mini-base stations, which offer improved wireless coverage indoors, have been generating considerable interest in mobile wireless markets and LTE deployment is expected to boost shipments and revenues of these products, according to senior analyst Nadine Manjaro. "In most parts of the world, LTE will be deployed using higher frequency bands. Higher frequencies penetrate structures less effectively than low frequencies, so femtocells and picocells offer an attractive way to compensate for lower indoor signal strength and provide LTE's touted bandwidth. Our forecasts show an upswing in femtocell and picocell penetration that coincides with the expected LTE deployment timeframe."

In Europe and other regions, LTE will operate in the 2.6GHz band, although in the United States it will largely be found in 70 MHz range, and in China TD-LTE will be most likely be deployed in the 1880- to 1920MHz and 2010- to 2025MHz bands, so the need for femtocells may be considered less pressing in those areas.

In contrast to other 3G technologies, which preceded the introduction of femtocells, when LTE arrives these products will have been available for some time and will be included in the original planned LTE architecture. "We will see some macro network deployment of LTE," says Manjaro, "but not to the same extent that we saw with previous technologies. I think a large portion of it will be deployed via femto and picocells alone, with macro deployments following later."

Some observers even suggest that all LTE deployments will initially use femtocells alone.

Many manufacturers such as Alcatel-Lucent and Motorola are supporting a new interface"Iu-h"in the LTE architecture, which incorporates femtocells and femto gateways. Others such as picoChip, mimoON and Agilent are partnering on femtocell design and testing with LTE architecture.

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