Light Reading

NEC, Ubiquisys Win Softbank Femto Deal

Michelle Donegan
LR Mobile News Analysis
Michelle Donegan

NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701) and its partner Ubiquisys Ltd. advanced from the femtocell trenches and won a key battle today with the announcement of a femto contract from Japan's SoftBank Mobile Corp. , as previously reported by Unstrung. (See Japanese Femto Rules.)

Softbank plans to launch commercial services with the 3G home base stations in January next year, which is the first commercial launch date that an operator has set for 3G femtos anywhere and is well ahead of the industry expectations that femto services will launch in 2010 or later. (See 2010: Year of the Femto.)

NEC also claims the deal is the world's first contract award for an IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)-based femtocell system, which comprises IMS core equipment, femtocell gateways, and high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) femtocell access points.

NEC's femtocell solution incorporates the Ubiquisys Zonegate access point (a.k.a. femtocell). The Ubiquisys femto is in trials at several operators, including Telefónica UK Ltd. , SFR , and T-Mobile International AG , but the deal with Softbank is the startup's first commercial contract. (See NEC, Ubiquisys Team, Vodafone, O2 Test Femtocells, France Is Favorite for Femto First , and T-Mobile Invests in Femto Firm.)

"A light has been begun to shine on a lot of the hard work we've had to do confidentially," says Keith Day, VP of marketing at Ubiquisys. "Operators have been very operationally focused… rather than [considering] whether this is the right approach or strategy. It's very important for the industry to have gotten beyond the concept stage."

According to the earlier Unstrung report, Softbank is also checking out the femto solution from Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. Softbank has deployed 20,000 units as part of its trial, but an industry source at the time did not think the operator was ready yet for a mass market deployment because there were still some technical issues.

Softbank must also be confident of resolving a regulatory issue that could hinder the widescale rollout of its femtocell network. In Japan, only a qualified engineer can install a base station, and this rule applies to the small home base stations as well. The policy is expected to be changed by the end of the year.

Softbank had not responded to Unstrung's questions as this article was published.

The Japanese operator has long been at the forefront of femtocell developments. It staged a big femto demonstration more than a year ago with equipment from many different vendors, including Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), ip.access Ltd. , Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), and Sonus Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SONS). (See Softbank Trials AlcaLu Femto, AlcaLu, Softbank Team, Softbank Trials Femtocell, Softbank Demos Moto Femtocell, Ubiquisys, Softbank Demo , and Sonus Joins Softbank Demo.)

In other NEC news today, the Japanese vendor made a strategic investment in Kineto Wireless Inc. , whose unlicensed mobile access (UMA) technology is used in dualmode, cellular/WiFi, fixed/mobile convergence services and is also part of the RAN gateway approach to connecting femtocells to the mobile core network. (See Kineto Supports HNB, 3GPP Picks Femtocell Standard, UMA Nears 3GPP Approval, and RadioFrame Slams Kineto Claims.)

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:31:35 PM
re: NEC, Ubiquisys Win Softbank Femto Deal
Hi Michelle,
Finally some movement in the Femto space. Does NEC use the Tatara SIP based convergence server in this solution? Also, any idea on target volumes for deployment?
Michelle Donegan
Michelle Donegan,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:31:28 PM
re: NEC, Ubiquisys Win Softbank Femto Deal
Yes, some numbers would be nice, but I don't have them other than that they'll do a soft launch next month with 1,000 access points.

Softbank did tell me that they're not looking for another vendor right now and that the quirky rule -- about qualified engineers having to install the base stations -- has not yet been changed.

I don't know about Tatara's server. I'll look out for that.

User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:30:54 PM
re: NEC, Ubiquisys Win Softbank Femto Deal
Softbank has a reputation of trying almost anything (most often without much success) to get some visibility over their other 2 big competitors. Their DSL network (Yahoo! Japan) and cellular network suffers from serious quality issues (dropped calls, coverage, ...). If they think that femtocell will fix their lousy networks then they need a slap on the face to make them realize that the only way to better their reputation is by spending real money on real network expansion instead of toying around with M&M technologies.
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
From The Founder
Steve Saunders provides an overview of white box networking and introduces a new "slim line" version of the OSI 7-layer model.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Between the CEOs
Centec on Ethernet Switching

11|26|15   |   09:58   |   (0) comments

Centec CEO James Sun talks to Steve Saunders about Ethernet switching and the white box revolution.
LRTV Custom TV
Delivering Service Agility in the Virtualization Era

11|25|15   |   5.41   |   (0) comments

Interview with Massimo Fatato, WW OSS Business Lead, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
Wagner’s Ring
How Might Open Source Fail?

11|24|15   |     |   (9) comments

Open source, SDN, and NFV are looking inevitable – but performance, standards proliferation and regulatory capture could derail the movement.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Lifecycle Orchestration – a Fresh Vision for Telco

11|23|15   |   6.40   |   (0) comments

Simon Osborne, CTO Comptel, and Heavy Reading's Caroline Chappell reveal the business impacts of new SDN and NFV, and what the term service orchestration actually means. Together they define Lifecycle Service Orchestration and how the virtualized future will look for telecoms operators.
Between the CEOs
Cisco's Virtual Role in Saudi

11|20|15   |   12:15   |   (2) comments

Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders talks with Zayan Sadek, Regional Manager at Cisco Systems, about the competitive communications services market and advance of virtualization in Saudi Arabia.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Leads With Kubernetes for Cloud PaaS

11|19|15   |   08:26   |   (0) comments

Huawei is looking to Kubernetes as a key tool for building robust open source technologies for customers and partners, said Ying Xiong, chief architect of cloud platform at Huawei, in an interview with Light Reading West Coast Bureau Chief Mitch Wagner at the recent Kubecon conference.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
WiC in London: The Highlight Reel

11|19|15   |   5:33   |   (1) comment

NetCracker's Mervat El Dabae headlines an inspiring morning in London with help from leading women from Vodafone, TalkTalk, Hyperoptics and Ciena.
LRTV Documentaries
Why Saudi's So Hot for New Tech

11|19|15   |   05:07   |   (0) comments

Light Reading's Steve Saunders reports from Saudi Arabia, a hyper-competitive market desperate to embrace the next generation of communications technologies and services.
LRTV Custom TV
Why Data Models Deliver More Value Than Information Models

11|19|15   |   5.08   |   (0) comments

Stefan Vallin argues that more automation is needed to manage end-to-end services and the hybrid networks they run on, and that data models are key to achieving this.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
SDN Management & Orchestration in the WAN

11|17|15   |   7.20   |   (0) comments

Carol Wilson and Packet Design CTO Cengiz Alaettinoglu discuss CSPs' SDN service delivery and assurance requirements. Learn about a modular approach to building automated control, orchestration and management functions for the WAN that are policy- and analytics-driven.
LRTV Custom TV
Flash Networks: Optimizing for Radio Spectral Efficiency

11|17|15   |   3:34   |   (0) comments

Today most optimization vendors only focus on optimizing voice or data. Ofer Gottfried, Flash Networks' CTO, shows how improving data throughput and maximizing spectral efficiency reduces capital and operating expenses while also providing a platform for user engagement.
LRTV Custom TV
Making Pay-TV User Experiences Millennial-Friendly

11|16|15   |   6:42   |   (0) comments

The unique challenge of reaching and engaging Millennials is driving pay-TV video experience transformation that can include higher quality UIs, viewing of multiple content streams at once and seamless transitions between handheld devices and the television.
Allot MobileTrends Report H2/2015 reveals how daily online behavior can be used to discover smarter ways to profile customers and propose valuable, real-time offers to them.
Hot Topics
Samsung to Sell Wireless Networking Unit?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/23/2015
Samsung: No Sale of Wireless Unit
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/25/2015
How Might Open Source Fail?
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 11/24/2015
Sprint to Get $1.2B From New Leasing Venture
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/23/2015
Networking Shines in HP's Gloomy Final Earnings
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 11/25/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
December 15, 2015
Virtualizing Cable Services
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Centec CEO James Sun talks to Steve Saunders about Ethernet switching and the white box revolution.
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders talks with Zayan Sadek, Regional Manager at Cisco Systems, about the competitive communications services market and advance of virtualization in Saudi Arabia.
Cats with Phones
Can't Find the Phone on Thanksgiving? Click Here
Check under the cat! (hint: bottom right)
Live Digital Audio

Broadband speeds are ramping up across Europe as the continent, at its own pace, follows North America towards a gigabit society. But there are many steps to take on the road to gigabit broadband availability and a number of technology options that can meet the various requirements of Europe’s high-speed fixed broadband network operators. During this radio show we will look at some of the catalysts for broadband network investments and examine the menu of technology options on offer, including vectoring and for copper plant evolution and the various deployment possibilities for FTTH/B.