Las Vegas - The Femto Forum, an industry association that promotes the development and deployment of femtocell worldwide, held its first press conference, and highlighted the growing market potential for this technology.
Currently nine mobile operators are using this technology worldwide, and Professor Simon Saunders, chairman of the Femto Forum, emphasized the potential for consumers, "we see this as complementary with Wi-Fi."
Femtocells are poised to be a low-cost, easy-to-install cellular point for homes, and already seeing support in the 3G and eme.ng 4G standards by 3GPP, 3GPP2, WiMAX Forum and Broadband Forum. Saunders added, "You can take your existing services and integrate it with your home network."
Femtocells are essentially plug-and-play wireless access points that connect standard mobile devices to a mobile network through broadband connections. This technology would also work with existing 3G handsets, and just as importantly allow for a seamless transition to cellular towers. Service is handed off as you move out of range and into a public space. The service has the added benefit of reducing carrier loads, which have increased as consumers send and receive data via mobile smartphones.
Forum member Andy Tiller of ip.access says that one advantage of femtocells is that this technology could off load the cellular networks, and help to not overload the 3G networks. "It relieves the data traffic for indoor uses."
Additionally, Rupert Baines of picoChips stressed that the data transmitted by mobile wouldn't overload broadband either. "In wireless this is a huge amount of traffic, but it is not a lot of traffic for broadband. It is not a dramatic loading for the broadband providers, but it is a dramatic saving for the wireless carrier. Femtocells are a way to help those carriers handle the traffic."