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TDC Joins the Femto Club

Danish incumbent operator TDC A/S (Copenhagen: TDC) is the latest carrier to put femtocell technology to the test with a small-scale user trial being conducted with NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701). (See NEC, TDC to Trial Femto Net.)

The carrier's mobile business is considering a commercial rollout of mini base stations, which are hooked up to users' broadband connections for backhaul, by the end of this year, depending on the results of the trial. (See Who Makes What: Femtocells.)

TDC is hoping the trial will show that femtocells can improve in-building 3G service coverage and reduce the traffic load from its standard wide area mobile network.

NEC is supplying the femtocells as well as its supporting gateway (for managing the traffic backhauled over users' broadband lines) and software for access point management and provisioning.

The access point product being supplied is the ZoneGate from Ubiquisys Ltd. , NEC's femtocell partner. NEC has also taken Ubiquisys into Orange (NYSE: FTE)'s mobile operator Orange and Japan's SoftBank Mobile Corp. (See Huawei, NEC Score Orange Femtocell Deal, NEC, Ubiquisys Win Softbank Femto Deal, and NEC, Ubiquisys Team.)

Carrier interest in femtocell technology, which is approaching standardization, is growing as 3G traffic volumes grow and operators look for ways to maximize coverage. (See Femtos Flesh Out Standards, Verizon's Secret Weapon, Cisco Femto Spotted at AT&T, AT&T Talks of Q2 Femto Test, Chunghwa Picks AlcaLu Femto, SFR Femto Spotted, StarHub Launches 3G Femto Service, Operators Eye LTE Metro Femtos, Huawei Lands More Femtocell Action, and Mobilkom Trials Femtos.)

NEC and Ubiquisys are just two of the vendors showing off their femto prowess at this month's Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona (February 16-19), where home base station technology is set to be one of the hot topics. (See MWC 2009 Preview, NEC Joins MWC FemtoZone, Ubiquisys Preps Standardized Femto, Acme Goes to MWC, and Agilent to Show at MWC .)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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