Light Reading
Softbank is one of the first operators to offer free femtocells, as it ramps up a national service in Japan

Softbank Kicks Off Free Femto Giveaway

Michelle Donegan
LR Mobile News Analysis
Michelle Donegan
6/30/2010
50%
50%

SoftBank Corp. has started offering femtocells for free in Japan as it ramps up its national service this year, a move that could spur other operators to adopt the same model for the small home base stations.

The move comes as operators, such as AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), have come under fire from some industry pundits for their femto prices and service offerings. (See AT&T Defends Data Caps on Femtos , AT&T Enforces Data Cap on Femtos , Vodafone Femto Ads Banned , Femto Watch: Vodafone Means Business in Spain, and Femto Watch: Vodafone Expands Footprint .)

Not only are Softbank's femtocells offered for free, but so is the ADSL connection, when customers sign up to a two-year contract.

Another twist in Softbank's strategy is that the access points are configured for open access, which means that any Softbank subscriber within range of a femtocell can use it. Most femto services today are offered on a closed access basis, which allows only registered users to use the access point.

Softbank's radical femto moves could encourage other operators to adopt this kind of service model, according to Will Franks, CTO of Ubiquisys Ltd. , which supplies the femto access points to Softbank through its system integrator partner, NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701). (See NEC, Ubiquisys Win Softbank Femto Deal.)

"[Softbank] can give femtos away for free and others can, too," he says. "If others can, then they will."

Franks says that operators' ability to embrace the free femtocell model will depend on their cost structure. For Softbank, he explains, two of the factors that enable the free femto model are the low cost of the femto access points (which use Percello Ltd. chipsets) and the operator's IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)-based femtocell network architecture. (See Ubiquisys Busts $100 Femto Barrier and Ubiquisys Femtos Go Soft.)

"Softbank has a very scalable model; they chose an IMS architecture, which is very cost-efficient," Franks says. "As others start to move to the next stages, they'll be able to bring their costs down."

Softbank started taking orders for the free femtocells in May and expects to ship 200,000 access points to users this year.

Other operators offering femto services in Japan include NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM) and KDDI Corp. (See DoCoMo to Upgrade Its Femtos and KDDI Tests Airvana's 3G Femtos.)

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
shygye75
50%
50%
shygye75,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:31:03 PM
re: Softbank Kicks Off Free Femto Giveaway


Using femtos as free bait to attract more customers to mobile voice service as a replacement for wireline is the right move, and the one initially envisioned for these products. The free DSL service is a bit aggressive, but billionaires can do stuff like that.

Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:30:58 PM
re: Softbank Kicks Off Free Femto Giveaway


I'd agree, because this is how I'd thought femtocells were going to be deployed in the first place.  Once I found out operators wanted me to PAY for the privilege of enhancing their networks, I lost all (consumer) interest in femtocells.

Flash Poll
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX – Live from the Show

8|21|14   |   5:58   |   (0) comments


An overview of VeEX Test and Measurement solutions including TX300S multi-service test set with VeExpress cloud-based management system, UX400 universal modular platform supporting 100G testing, and the redesigned RXT modular platform.
LRTV Custom TV
Transitioning CE 2.0 Networks Into the SDN & NFV Era With Telco Systems

8|19|14   |   5:19   |   (0) comments


Telco Systems' Ariel Efrati (CEO) and Moshe Shimon (VP of Product Management) discuss virtualization and how the company's new Open Metro Edge solution utilizes the SDN and NFV concepts to accelerate and orchestrate service delivery through its innovative product portfolio and software applications.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Myths: Is NFV Still Several Years Away?

8|11|14   |   1:13   |   (0) comments


Some say that NFV (network functions virtualization) is still several years away from being implemented on mobile operator networks. This isn't the case. Operators can get started on their paths to NFV now, as this short video from Skyfire shows.
LRTV Custom TV
A New Security Paradigm in SDN/NFV

7|28|14   |   02:54   |   (0) comments


Paul Shaneck, Global Director Network Solutions for Symantec, discusses the evolving virtualized network, explaining how Symantec is leading the security discussion as it relates to SDN and NFV, and helping to ensure the network is protected and compliant.
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint's Network Evolution

7|24|14   |   14:59   |   (0) comments


Sprint's Jay Bluhm gives a keynote speech at the Big Telecom Event (BTE) about Sprint's network and services evolution strategy, including Spark.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE Keynote: The Software-Defined Operator

7|24|14   |   18:43   |   (1) comment


Deutsche Telekom's Axel Clauberg explains the concept of the software-defined operator to the Big Telecom Event (BTE) crowd.
Light Reedy
Numbers Are In: LR's 2014 Salary Survey

7|24|14   |   1:25   |   (7) comments


Our fourth annual Salary Survey paints a picture of who's hiring, firing, earning, and yearning for a change in the telecom industry.
LRTV Custom TV
Driving the Network Transformation

7|23|14   |   4:29   |   (0) comments


Intel's Sandra Rivera discusses network transformation and how Intel technologies, programs, and standards body efforts have helped the industry migration to SDN and NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed NFV-Based Business Services by RAD

7|18|14   |   5:38   |   (0) comments


With the ETSI-approved Distributed NFV PoC running in the background, RAD's CEO, Dror Bin, talks about why D-NFV makes compelling sense for service providers, and about the dollars and cents RAD is putting behind D-NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
MRV Accelerating Packet Optical Convergence

7|15|14   |   6:06   |   (0) comments


Giving you network insight to make your network smarter.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV-Enabled Ethernet for Generating New Revenues

7|15|14   |   5:49   |   (0) comments


Cyan's Planet Orchestrate allows service providers and their end-customers to activate software-based capabilities such as firewalls and encryption on top of existing Ethernet services in just minutes.
LRTV Custom TV
Symkloud NVF-Ready Video Transcoding, Big Data

7|9|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


Kontron and ISV partner Vantrix demonstrate high-performance video transcoding and data analytic solutions on same 2U standard platform that is ready for SDN and NFV deployments made by mobile, cable and cloud operators.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 23, 2014, Denver, CO
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Today's Cartoon
Hot Topics
Level 3 Does Big Data Differently
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/21/2014
Comcast Streams Back to School
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 8/21/2014
Sprint Drops Prices, But Also Speeds?
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 8/21/2014
Line-Powered Phone Lines: A Hot Topic Again
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/20/2014
A New Verizon App Store? Say It Ain't So
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 8/20/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed