NEC trials femtocells with mobile operators

NEC trials femtocells with mobile operators

Technology to drive 3G services, reduce churn and lower operational costs

NEC has announced that it is ready to start user trials of its femtocell technology in Europe.

The technology will enable operators to deliver 3G mobile services via a standard IP broadband connection directly into subscribers' homes or businesses.

Femtocells are small low-power plug-and-play devices which provide localised 3G coverage and dedicated capacity by using the subscriber's broadband connection for backhaul.

"After a widespread launch in mid 2008, the European femtocell market will represent the largest global market with 16.6 million units per annum in 2012 out of a total shipment volume of 36 million units and a market valuation of $4.2bn," said analyst firm ABI Research.

NEC is among the first to offer a complete platform including the femtocell access point for direct subscriber use, together with the gateway and the management and provisioning systems.

"The battle to retain a meaningful and profitable relationship with subscribers is heating up as mobile operators face competition from new entrants into the market," said Yoichi Watanabe, assistant senior vice president at NEC.

"The company which can deliver customers with the communications services they require and will pay for is the one which will remain visible and relevant. "

NEC stressed that its femtocell system is compatible with existing and planned 3G mobile handsets, which is essential for driving mass-market adoption as users will not have to purchase new handsets to make use of the technology.