3G Femtocells Outnumber Conventional 3G BTS

in News, Report, 3G, Femtocell

According to a recent Informa Telecoms & Media report, there are now in excess of 2.3 million 3G femtocells globally compared to 1.6 million 3G macrocells. There are now 31 commercial femtocell services worldwide which represents over 60% growth in deployments in the past quarter alone.

This market growth is reflected in the fact that eight of the top 10 mobile operator groups (by revenue) now offer femtocell services, which includes AT&T Group, France Telecom Group, NTT DOCOMO Group, Sprint, Telefonica Group, Deutsche Telecom Group, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone Group. Furthermore, in the vast majority of these markets, the devices now outnumber all generations of cell sites.

Informa forecasts this growth to continue with 48 million access points in use globally by 2014. Where last quarter Informa noted the recent growth in enterprise femtocell usage, this quarter has been notable due to the growth in femtocells for public access, especially as a means for speeding up mobile broadband in busy areas as exemplified by SK Telecom’s pure data offload strategy. The technology is also expected to grow in 4G networks with 60% of operators believing that small cells will be more important than macrocells for an effective LTE deployment strategy according to a recent Informa survey.

“Femtocells haven’t just passed a major milestone – it is now apparent that they are rapidly becoming less of a differentiator for service providers and more like an essential offering. Consumers are increasingly going to expect something that for a long time seemed impossible – near ubiquitous coverage for voice and high speed data. Femtocells make this a very real possibility,” said Dimitris Mavrakis, Senior Analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media.

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