Femtocells (News - Alert) have been talked about in corridors and have been propped up as an alternative in areas that don't have cellular service of any kind. However, it has remained only as 'talk for years' and has never been really flagged off.
The iGR research study projects a brighter future for residential femtocells, and indicates that mobile operators will need to improve the quality of subscriber cellular voice service, which translates into improving coverage within the home. Moving forward, this will be the primary role that residential femtocells will play in the near future.
"The quality of the cellular voice service in a consumer's own home is of critical importance when assessing overall network quality and mobile operator satisfaction," said Iain Gillott, president and founder of iGR, adding that residential femtocells are a good way to improve the cellular voice coverage in the home.
Given that smartphone users judge a service on the nature of their overall network experience and that landlines are fast being replaced by mobile services, the quality and coverage of cellular services takes on a totally different hue and remains high priority for them. Hence, the iGR study does appear to be rather significant.
Regarding the use of femtocells in the future, iGR has thus prepared two market forecasts; one based on the current model that is being used to resolve network coverage and quality issues for high ARPU customers.
A second more aggressive model is one in which the operators use femtocells to offload in-home cellular voice (and data) traffic from the macrocell to the femtocell and, therefore, to the wired broadband network.
The report indicates the major differences between the currently deployed "customer retention" and the "aggressive" use case models.
So, while it does project that the installed base of residential femtocells could grow at a CAGR of 86 percent through 2017 as carriers roll out femtocells to high ARPU customers in low- to poor-coverage areas, offloading of data from the macro network to femtocells doesn't appear to be so easy.
Because, for this to happen, there needs to be network co-ordination among femtocells, metrocells and macrocells to minimize interference and handle all network issues, presenting a slightly more difficult proposition.
The research report, while providing basic information about residential femtocells, uses, how they work, how they impact users, the likely size of the femtocell market and the forecasts for femtocell installation in the United States, also underlines the reasons for its projections.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman