Report: Free femtocell offers driven by competitive markets
This growth in markets with multiple femtocell offerings was also found to be driving free femtocell offers from operators. The majority of countries with competitive consumer femtocell offerings include at least one operator who offers the devices free of charge. Currently, subscribers in France, Japan, Russia and the United States have access to free femtocells.
The growth in free femtocell offers is being driven by the falling costs of femtocell technology as economies of scale and competition increase. Over the past quarter, important progress has been made in the evolution of femtocell chipsets with new launches from Cavium, Freescale, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments. These join existing chipset vendors – Broadcom, DesignArt, Picochip and Mindspeed.
“We are seeing evidence that once one operator deploys femtocells in a market there is strong pressure on its competitors to offer a rival service. This competition is in turn starting to drive free femtocell offers as operators look to differentiate their services. These free offers have become commercially viable as the costs associated with femtocells start to fall due to vendor competition and economies of scale,” said Dimitris Mavrakis, Principal Analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media.
New femtocell deployments in the past quarter include Vodafone Netherlands, Vodafone Czech Republic, Vimpelcom in Russia and Cosmote in Greece. There are currently 36 femtocell deployments globally, 14 further commitments, and, as of June 2011, in excess of 2.3 million femtocells active both privately in homes and offices, as well as publically in metropolitan and rural environments.
There are more 3G femtocells than conventional 3G base stations globally and Informa forecasts growth to continue with 48 million access points in use globally by 2014. Eight of the top 10 mobile operator groups (by revenue) offer femtocell services – this includes AT&T Group, France Telecom Group, NTT DOCOMO Group, Sprint, Telefonica Group, Deutsche Telecom Group, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone Group.
The expansion of the femtocell industry is also reflected in the growing membership of the Femto Forum, the femtocell industry association. Its membership includes 70 vendors and 66 mobile operators representing over 1.94 billion mobile subscribers worldwide, across multiple wireless technologies (WiMAX, UMTS and CDMA) and accounts for 34% of total mobile subscribers worldwide.
Informa Telecoms & Media independently researched and produced this report for the Femto Forum. The report is updated on a quarterly basis and is published free of charge on the Femto Forum’s website: www.femtoforum.org.