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Femto industry begins to develop

The newly founded Femto Forum, inaugurated at the start of this month marks the official beginning of the femtocell industry, according to industry analyst Pyramid Research.

The creation of the forum signifies another notch on the volume dial as the buzz around femtocell technology becomes louder.

Recently, Japan’s Softbank announced that it will conduct femtocell trials involving at least five vendors, while Vodafone went one better and began evaluating eight or nine solutions.

The big question now, according to Pyramid, is whether and when Nokia Siemens, Huawei, Ericsson, and Alcatel-Lucent will join in on the Femto Forum action.

At present, the organisation counts seven small femto technology vendors among its founding members but Pyramid believes the bigger vendors need to clarify where they stand on commercialisation of the technology.

“Announcements of lab tests and proof-of-concept agreements have started flooding in, but it will be at least another year before commercial launches become possible,” the analyst said. “Operators and vendors say that friendly customer trials will start by the end of 2007 and services will be launched commercially in the second half of 2008.”

According to Pyramid the femtocell opportunity represents 30 per cent of the total 3G subscriber base by the end of 2010, two years after the expected commercial launch.

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