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Optical/IP

Pirelli Gateways Go Femto

Pirelli Broadband Solutions will garnish its home gateways with UMTS femtocell technology from Airvana Inc. , the companies revealed today. (See Pirelli Adds Airvana Femto.)

The Italian customer premises equipment (CPE) supplier joins the growing list of residential gateway vendors that are tarting up their triple play devices, which telcos use to deliver broadband, voice, and video services, with the mini cellular base stations. (See Femto Players Gun for Gateways.)

Pirelli will integrate Airvana's HubBub UMTS femtocell into a standalone access point as well as into a home gateway that includes an ADSL2+ modem, WiFi access point, an FXS SIP VoIP port, and UBS host connectivity for shared storage.

"We see femtocells as a new tool to enable 3G handsets to interact with the connected home," says Roberto Pellegrini, director of marketing and innovation, at Pirelli Broadband Solutions.

Pellegrini says Pirelli has 60 percent to 70 percent of the Italian residential gateway market and is the prime CPE supplier to Telecom Italia (TIM) , which has reportedly expressed an interest in femtocells and recently appealed to the vendor community to bring the cost of the technology down. The country has been a hotbed of fixed/mobile convergence (FMC) service activity this year too. (See Telecom Italia Eyes Femtos, Telecom Italia Dumps UMA for FMC, Telecom Italia Launches FMC, FMC Fusilli, and Italian FMC Face-Off.)



Pirelli has also partnered with Nokia Networks for the femtocell network gateway and mobile core network integration. (See NSN's New Femtofriend and NSN, Pirelli Partner.)

For Airvana, Pirelli is the second publicly announced residential gateway vendor to use its femtocell technology after Thomson S.A. (NYSE: TMS; Euronext Paris: 18453). (See Thomson Sidelines ip.access and Airvana: 'Betting the Farm' on Femto.)

The femtocell company sees integrated gateways, rather than standalone access points, as eventually dominating the femtocell market. According to Airvana's business development VP Paul Callahan, at least 90 percent of femtocell access points in four to five years will be integrated gateways. "That's how we see the market and we're seeing customer demand for that," he adds.

Other home gateway gear makers getting in on the femto action are Thomson, Netgear Inc. (Nasdaq: NTGR), which uses a femtocell module from Ubiquisys Ltd. , and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), which Unstrung has reported is working on a joint solution with ip.access Ltd. (See Netgear Gateway Goes Femto, Cisco, ip.access Prep Femto Combo, Cisco Invests in ip.access, Cisco to Acquire Scientific-Atlanta, and AT&T the Latest to Jump on the Femto Wagon.)

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

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