Light Reading
Sprint Nextel claims it will be the first operator in the US to launch a 3G femtocell

Sprint: We'll Beat AT&T to 3G Femto

Michelle Donegan
LR Mobile News Analysis
Michelle Donegan
6/30/2009
50%
50%

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) says it will be the first operator to launch a 3G femtocell in the United States, Unstrung can reveal.

"Just like Sprint was the first with 2G, we'll definitely be the first in the 3G space as well," Mathew Oommen, VP of device and technology development (effectively the CTO), tells Unstrung. "We're not talking about trials; we're talking about full commercial service."

The operator's claims follow AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s plans to deploy its standalone 3G femtocell nationwide by the end of this year. (See AT&T on Track for Femto Launch.)

So, the race is on to be first to have 3G femtos as AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon Wireless attempt to extend their mobile networks into their customers' homes to fix indoor coverage problems [ed. note: and at their customers' expense, too].

The significance of this who-will-be-first issue is that with 3G femtos -- whether HSDPA or, in Sprint's case, CDMA EV-DO Rev. A -- customers can get, not only better voice coverage, but also better data performance on their cellphones at home. And operators are keen to make sure customers can use their mobile data packages while at home.

Oommen says Sprint will be first, but he doesn't say when the 3G femtocell would arrive. And he isn't giving away details about the device, including suppliers, price, and service plans.

However, he indicates that Sprint plans to have more than one 3G femto and intends to have a device suited for enterprises as well. The operator also plans for the 3G femtocells to be part of its open device initiative, according to Oommen. (See Sprint Takes Femtos Wholesale.)

So who are the suppliers likely to be? Samsung Corp. must be in the running since it supplies Sprint's current 2G CDMA femto, called the Airave. Other contenders would be Airvana Inc. (Nasdaq: AIRV) -- its 3G femto module is integrated into Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT)'s femtocell digital picture frame, and it has a partnership with Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) for CDMA femto systems -- and AirWalk Communications Inc. (See Sprint Goes Femto, Airvana: 'Betting the Farm' on Femto, AlcaLu Teams for 3G CDMA Femtocells, AirWalk Unveils Its Enterprise Femto , CTIA 2009: Device Preview, and Femtocells Kick Apps.)

Sprint's CDMA competitor, Verizon, which also offers a 2G femto called the Verizon Network Extender, remains vague about a possible 3G femto. In an emailed reply to Unstrung's questions, a spokeswoman writes: "We've not announced plans for a 3G femtocell but we typically upgrade all of our devices to reflect newer technology." (See Verizon Intros Femtocell.)

Sprint was indeed the first to launch a 2G CDMA femto when it unveiled the Airave in September 2007. And the operator says customers have had a good experience. (See Sprint Goes Femto.)

"Femtocells have increased customer satisfaction… [We] have consistently seen customers give us positive feedback on coverage and overall experience," Oommen says. "That translates into retention of customers.

"We believe we have a lead in this process. We believe that from a commercial deployment standpoint, we will still be the leader in commercial 3G deployment."

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Integration Towards the Network Function Virtualization (NFV) Era

12|23|14   |   9:50   |   (0) comments


NFV offers communication service providers a way to drastically simplify their network by decoupling software and hardware. This makes an organization more agile and it also reduces operational expenses. Today we're talking to Huawei and current analysis about how an operator can build an NFV platform with specific focus on how they can capitalize on the ...
LRTV Interviews
Amdocs CEO Interview

12|23|14   |   19:05   |   (2) comments


Amdocs CEO Eli Gelman talks data analytics, global markets, acquisitions, NFV and the move to software virtualization, and more in a wide-ranging, exclusive interview with Light Reading.
LRTV Documentaries
EE Talks Biz Transformation on Road to 5G

12|23|14   |   2:10   |   (0) comments


EE's Director of Network Strategy David Salam discusses how data growth on its wireless network is driving business transformation and the move to 5G for the UK-based carrier.
LRTV Documentaries
Paul Bunyan's Giant Gigabit Plans

12|22|14   |   03:26   |   (0) comments


Gary Johnson, the CEO and GM of Minnesota rural operator Paul Bunyan Communications, discusses the company's 5,000-square-mile gigabit network rollout.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: Building the Case for NFV

12|19|14   |   02:14   |   (0) comments


At the 2020 Vision Executive Summit, James Feger, VP, Network Strategy & Development at CenturyLink, talks about how the US operator is approaching virtual network functions from an operational and business case perspective.
LRTV Interviews
Liberty Global Sees Business Goldmine

12|18|14   |     |   (0) comments


Steen Sorensen, VP of business services for Liberty Global, explains where the giant international MSO sees growth potential.
LRTV Documentaries
EE: The Road to 5G

12|16|14   |   16:02   |   (2) comments


Andy Sutton, the principal network architect at UK mobile operator EE, explains how his company is using Wembley stadium as a wireless test bed and how that's helping EE to plan the evolution to 5G.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Highlights of Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014

12|16|14   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei hosted its inaugural NFV Open Cloud Forum during the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014 in Düsseldorf, Germany. The Forum brought together technology thought leaders, senior executives and telecom professionals from global carriers, industry associations, as well as other partner companies in the ecosystem, to exchange views on and collectively explore how ...
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing Operators' Digital Vision

12|16|14   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Leveraging technology is fundamental to digital transformation but understanding customers and serving them really well is at the heart of digital businesses. TM Forum lists the following as the strategic pillars of the digital business: business agility and rapid innovation, operational agility and effectiveness, IT and data centricity, plus customer centricity. ...
LRTV Documentaries
US Cellular Injects Analytics Into LTE

12|16|14   |   2:57   |   (1) comment


US Cellular's Mario Vela explains how the operator uses analytics for network planning and what comes next as the carrier looks to eke more value out of its metrics.
LRTV Interviews
How Cox Biz Plans to Keep Growing

12|15|14   |     |   (2) comments


Steve Rowley, SVP of Cox Business, details how the third-biggest US MSO intends to boost its revenues to $2 billion and beyond over the rest of the decade
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Bill Zhang, Director of SoftCOM Product Management, Huawei

12|15|14   |   2:50   |   (0) comments


Bill Zhang elaborated on Huawei's open philosophy in NFV solution development and network architecture design at the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014.
Upcoming Live Events
February 10, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
February 19, 2015, The Fairmont San Jose, San Jose, CA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 9-10, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2-3, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
Hot Topics
Google Has Self-Driving Prototype Ready
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 12/22/2014
Rockstar Group Unloads Patents for $900M
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/23/2014
5 Things Cable Didn't Deliver This Holiday
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 12/24/2014
Verizon Reminds Us That 200G Exists
Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, 12/22/2014
LTE Small Cells Set to Be Big in 2015
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/22/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive