Light Reading

Vodafone RFP Fuels Femtocells

Michelle Donegan
LR Mobile News Analysis
Michelle Donegan
7/5/2007
50%
50%
Repost This

Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) has issued a femtocell request for proposals (RFP) that is considered to be the most significant undertaking for the emerging low-power home base station market.

While many operators say they are considering femtocells, Vodafone, along with Orange (NYSE: FTE) and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), are the few major operators known to have actually issued RFPs for the technology. (See FT Preps Femtocell RFP, Sprint Goes Femto With WiMax, and Sprint Taking WiMax Indoors.)

Vodafone's RFP process is believed to have been going on for at least the past six months.

"This is the first big sizeable [RFP] that people are paying attention to," says Stuart Carlaw, research director at ABI Research , speaking on the sidelines of the International Conference on Home Access Points and Femtocells in London.

Vodafone is understood to be evaluating eight or nine different vendors' products. Carlaw says there are four companies that "look to be in a good position." Those are ip.access Ltd. , Ubiquisys Ltd. , Nokia Solutions and Networks , and Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), "in various combinations." (See ABI Rates UbiquiSys.)

Ubiquisys and Motorola responded to the RFP together, according to one industry source.

Other vendors in the femtocell space include Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701), and ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763). (See NEC, Ubiquisys Team, NEC Teams With Tatara, Ericsson Unveils Femtocell, ZTE, Samsung Build Femtocell, and Sonus Targets Femtocells.)

Based on the amount of RFP activity, ABI Research estimates that there will be 50,000 femtocell units shipped this year and 1 million units next year.

Vodafone's femtocell activity is driven at a group level within the operator, but this does not mean that every one of its markets will have the same approach. According to Carlaw, Vodafone's strategy is aligned in Germany and the U.K., but smaller markets such as the Netherlands have some autonomy to do their own thing.

"Initially, [Vodafone] will have some different approaches," says Carlaw. "But it will have to align [strategies] to get economies of scale."

A Vodafone spokesman could not provide any information about this RFP or the operator's femtocell strategy. [Ed note: That's because the person who deals with femtocells in the press office was on holiday.]

The list of operators looking at femtocells is long, but the operators most aggressively pushing the technology, according to Carlaw, are Vodafone, Sprint, French mobile operator SFR , and SoftBank Mobile Corp.

Carlaw says SFR's development efforts are as advanced as Vodafone's initiative, but that the operator has not yet issued a formal RFP. Vodafone holds a 43.9 percent stake in SFR. (See SFR, NSN Team on 3G.)

Earlier this week, Softbank held a proof-of-concept demonstration in Japan with several vendors. (See Softbank Trials Femtocell, Softbank Demos Moto Femtocell, Sonus Joins Softbank Demo, Netgear, Ubiquisys Team, and Ubiquisys, Softbank Demo .)

T-Mobile International AG is also evaluating femtocells, and the operator sees them as a more cost-effective way to provide home zone services. For these services, operators charge a lower tariff when customers are within the range of a specified cell site, usually near their home. With femtocells, the range where the lower tariff applies will be greatly reduced.

"With a femtocell, you buy it and you will have the new home zone tariff," says Jiri Valek, RAN systems expert at T-Mobile International. "We would like to invest a lot in [the] femtocell business, but there is not 100 percent proof that femtocells will work."

Telefónica Europe plc (O2) also confirmed its interest in the home base stations and, like T-Mobile, sees home zone services as the potential application. "Femtos show a lot of promise," says Mike Short, vice president of research and development at O2. "[They're] the logical successor to some of the home services we have today."

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Flash Poll
LRTV Custom TV
Wind River Demonstrates Carrier-Grade Software for NFV

4|22|14   |   5:00   |   (0) comments


Wind River VP of Product Management, Glenn Seiler, takes a look the industry's first and only complete NFV software platform designed specifically for the unique carrier-grade and high-performance needs of telecom networks.
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyes Big Technology Shifts

4|16|14   |   03:02   |   (4) comments


US cable engineers are facing a lot of heavy lifting in the coming years, notes Light Reading Cable/Video Practice Leader Alan Breznick.
LRTV Custom TV
Maximizing Customer Experience & Assuring Service Delivery in an IP World

4|15|14   |   4:57   |   (0) comments


Steven Shalita, VP of Marketing, NetScout Systems, Inc., discusses the challenges cable/MSO operators face in assuring the delivery of new IP-based services. Key points include the value of proactively managing performance, and using rich analytics and operational intelligence to better understand service and usage trends, make smarter business decisions and ...
LRTV Documentaries
Bye-Bye DVD: Consumers Embrace Digital Video

4|10|14   |   04:17   |   (7) comments


Veteran video analyst Colin Dixon, founder and principal analyst of nScreenMedia, says research shows 56% are using digital video already.
LRTV Documentaries
Video: TW Cable Puts Multicast Gateways to the Test

4|8|14   |   04:13   |   (1) comment


Tom Gonder, a chief architect at Time Warner Cable, explains how its trial of multicast gateways is impacting IP-based video plans.
LRTV Custom TV
Managing & Monetizing Big Data in Operator Environments

4|7|14   |     |   (1) comment


At Mobile World Congress, Gigamon's Director of Service Provider Solutions, Andy Huckridge, and Heavy Reading Analyst Sarah Wallace discuss the 'big data' issues facing carriers and operators today.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Data Center Energy – Build Your Data Center in a Modular Way

4|7|14   |   2:13   |   (0) comments


Dr. Fang Liangzhou, VP Network Energy Product Line, shared his thoughts about the challenges for data centers during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Agile Network Solution – An Overview of Huawei's Agile Network Solution

4|7|14   |   2:31   |   (0) comments


Ajay Gupta, Director of Product Marketing, Networking Product Line, gives an overview of the Agile Network Solutions during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s eLTE Voice Trunking, Video and Data Applied for Railways

4|7|14   |   1:38   |   (0) comments


Gottfried Winter is the Sales Director at Funkwerk, a German specialist in GSM-r terminals and a long-time partner of Huawei. At CeBIT 2014, Winter talks to Light Reading about this partnership and the integration of enhanced voice trunking, video and data functions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
LeaseWeb Speaks Highly of Huawei's Datacenter Products

4|7|14   |   1:37   |   (0) comments


Rene Olde Olthof, Operations Director LeaseWeb, talks about the next data center transformation during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Documentaries
Comcast: Reshaping the Cable Network Architecture

4|3|14   |   07:11   |   (8) comments


Shamim Akhtar, Comcast's architect and senior director of network strategy, explains why the cable company is moving to a more distributed network architecture.
LRTV Custom TV
VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger at Mobile World Congress

4|1|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger speaks to Heavy Reading about the value of virtualization spanning from the data center to service provider networks to mobile devices.
Hot Topics
WhatsApp Threatens Carrier VoLTE
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/18/2014
The Hungry, Hungry Cloud
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/22/2014
Who's Ready to Play Broadband?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/21/2014
Volvo: AT&T HSPA+ Can Drive My Car
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/16/2014
Report: NFV/SDN Standards 'Myopic' on Service Management
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/16/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed