Optical/IP Networks

AT&T Talks of Q2 Femto Test

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) says that it will test femtocells in "at least one market" in the second quarter and now has mini-basestations on trial in some of its employees' homes.

The massive cellular carrier isn't saying which city -- or cities -- yet, but the comment fits right in with what the operator has already said about femtocells. (See AT&T Targets Q2 Femto Launch.)

"AT&T is testing the technology in employees’ homes and plans a trial in at least one market in the second quarter of 2009," writes a company spokeswoman in an email reply to questions. She didn't comment, however, on suggestions that the operator is prepping for a wider femtocell launch in the fall. (See CES: AT&T's Femtos in the Fall?)

The operator is rumored to be using technology from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) that the networking giant has developed with ip.access Ltd. , although this hasn't yet been confirmed by the operator. AT&T has, however, so far said that it wants a home gateway-style device that will work with its 3G handsets. Cisco is working on a home gateway with a femto element. (See Cisco, ip.access Prep Femto Combo.) AT&T's major rival, Verizon Wireless , is planning a femto launch for "early 2009." The only U.S. operator currently offering customers a tiny basestation for their homes is Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) with its $99 Airave box.

If you want to learn more about femtocells, please check out our new report on the topic: Who Makes What: Femtocells. — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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