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
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
Dr. Dong Sun Talks About Carriers' Digital Transformation & Huawei’s Telco OS

1|29|15   |   6:28   |   (0) comments


Dr. Dong Sun, Chief Architect of Digital Transformation Solutions at Huawei, discusses how telecom operators can become digital ecosystem enablers and deliver optimal user experiences that are in real-time, on-demand, all-online, DIY and social (ROADS).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Chief Network Architect Talks about Network Experience & Operators’ Strategies

1|29|15   |   3:39   |   (0) comments


In the digital age, network experience has become the primary productivity especially for telecom operators. In this video, Wenshuan Dang, Huawei’s Chief Network Architect, discusses how carriers can tackle the challenge of infrastructure complexity in order to enhance business agility and improve user experience.
LRTV Documentaries
The Rise of Virtual CPE

1|27|15   |   01:38   |   (5) comments


As NFV strategies evolve from tests and trials to production telco networks, expect to hear a lot about virtual CPE (customer premises equipment) rollouts during 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
Optical Is Hot in 2015

1|23|15   |   01:56   |   (2) comments


Optical comms technology underpins the whole communications sector and there are some really hot trends set for 2015.
LRTV Custom TV
Policy Control in the Fast Lane

1|22|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


What's making policy control strategic in 2015 and beyond? Amdocs talks with Heavy Reading's Graham Finnie about the key factors driving change in the data services landscape. Find out what his policy management research reveals about the road ahead for policy control – and sign up for
LRTV Documentaries
Highlights From the 2020 Vision Executive Summit

1|21|15   |   4:33   |   (2) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading brought together telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Cisco's Doug Webster shared his company's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Harmonic, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment with Huawei

1|20|15   |   5:42   |   (1) comment


At IBC, Peter Alexander, Senior Vice President & CMO at Harmonic, speaks about the growing interest in pay-TV service and its branching into multiple devices.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sony Marketing Director Olivier Bovis Discusses the Outlook for 4K and Cooperation With Huawei at IBC 2014

1|20|15   |   6:50   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Envivio, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment

1|20|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Pay-TV's Networked Future

1|20|15   |   6:29   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about the future of the pay-TV industry and its transition.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Jeff Heynen: Distributed Access Will Help MSOs Compete in the Future

1|20|15   |   2:26   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about moving to distributed access and the future trend of cable business.
LRTV Interviews
Cisco Talks Transformation

1|20|15   |   13:02   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Cisco VP of Products & Solutions Marketing Doug Webster at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Cisco's approach to network virtualization as well as how service providers can begin to monetize high-capacity networks through the end of the decade.
Upcoming Live Events
February 5, 2015, Washington, DC
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 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 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
Infographics
Hot Topics
Google Continues Gigabit Expansion
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 1/27/2015
Comcast Apologizes to 'A**hole' Brown
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/29/2015
US Ops Spend $32.5M to Bring 4G to Chicago's Subways
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 1/30/2015
Cablevision's New WiFi Try – Freewheeling Enough?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 1/26/2015
Overture Builds on NFV Foundation
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/27/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Weekly Executive Interview
Join us live for Light Reading's interview with Jay Samit, the newly appointed CEO of publicly traded SeaChange International Inc. With a resume that includes Sony, EMI, and Universal, Samit brings a reputation as an entrepreneur and a disruptor to his new role at the video solutions company. Hear what he has to say about the opportunities in video, as well as the outlook for cable, telco, OTT and mobile service providers.