Femtocells enable to expand the coverage in-door at the very place consumers use their device: their home. It enables to offload the radio access network. I mentioned in a previous post the Sure Signal service from Vodafone UK. I was not convinced by the benefits of this offer. According to The Register it isn’t an easy task to integrate these Femtocells into the global 3G network as many Vodafone UK customers are complaining.
Users who have paid £50 to buy the box aren’t satisfied by the service that should connect the unconnected.
In some countries it will be hard to sell the Femtocell concept. In France some associations have compelled operators to remove their stations from school roofs. Parents fears that their kids get high levels of radiation. I don’t think the “get a BTS in your living room” will be very appealing for these people.
Wifi is still a viable and inexpensive solutions especially for Fixed-Mobile players. Wifi has been so largely adopted that it doesn’t make people raise an eyebrow about radiation.
Orange has been pursuing this WiFi route with Unik for fixed mobile converge since 2005. It is still limited to voice services, but it seems a promising solution for data off-load too. Let’s keep an eye on it.