Femtos win more support in US

Expect to hear plenty of news about femtocells this week as the Femto World Summit kicks off in London. had a briefing with what felt like the entire femto ecosystem on Monday morning ahead of the conference and came away with the sense that the technology and the business model are winning acceptance and adoption. The latest carrier to fly the femto flag being US rural player Mosaic Telecom.

On Monday, Mosaic, which provides telecoms services, including 3G, to a large portion of northwestern Wisconsin, contracted Nokia Siemens Networks to roll out a standards compliant 3G femtocell solution using kit from Airvana.

The deal means subscribers to Mosaic will be able to enjoy guaranteed access to 3G services around their homes and offices. One of the main selling points of this deployment being that in the past, femtocell deployments have been based on proprietary solutions, while this deployment is based on 3GPP Release 8 standards.

“Femtocells ensure subscribers enjoy the best indoor mobile voice, video and data services, and help offload traffic from the broader 3G network,” said Rick Vergin, chief executive officer of Mosaic Telecom. “In addition to securing higher customer satisfaction, we also expect this implementation to drive data traffic growth in the network, leading to increased average revenue per user (ARPUs).”

When met with the femto crowd in London this morning, we got the opportunity to talk to Vodafone, which pitches a femto solution to consumers in the shape of Sure Signal. The carrier was candid about the quandary it has found itself in on launch of the product. On one hand advertising a 3G network with strong coverage, while on the other selling the subscriber a box to boost coverage in the home.

“This is all part of our best network strategy,” said Lee McDougal, senior manager for network, messaging and call completion at Vodafone UK. “We know that this [lack of coverage in buildings] is a problem that all operators around the world suffer from. We don’t want to deny it exists. So we’re being upfront in saying we can’t give you coverage absolutely everywhere and nobody can, so we’ve spent the time and effort developing a product that can solve this problem.” McDougal said the move has given Vodafone something of a first mover advantage in admitting the problem and getting existing and potential customers accustomed to the solution.

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