30/03/2010

Ubiquisys makes a femto cell for less than $100

Ubiquisys have produced their "Femto-Engine" which has all the software needed for a femto cell and they also supply blueprints for any additional hardware that's required so original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have all the information required to produce a working cell.

$100 has been a key price as this should enable mobile network operators (MNO) to bundle the femto cells for free with their service. Currently in the UK Vodafone sell their SureSignal femto cell for £50 (if the customer has a certain price plan for their mobile). In the US AT&T charge $150 for their microcell product.

There is a volume requirement to hit the sub $100 price, an OEM would need to order 100,000 in one go. Any MNO with any volume should be able to shift that kind of number easily, especially as it's highly beneficial to them as femto cells mean loading on their traditional networks is reduced.

These femto cells are only 3G units as it's much more difficult to produce 2G femto cells (and they require frequency planning), but it's the 3G traffic (i.e. mainly data) that is a real problem for the MNOs, so femto cells in the long term and as LTE comes into play are a no brainer.
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