VoIP Systems

Genband's Femto Theory

8:45 AM -- Genband Inc. says its G9 media gateway is involved in 10 femtocell trials with Tier 1 carriers all over Europe. That tidbit was dropped by CEO Charlie Vogt, as he was building up Genband's case for growth in 2008 during a meeting last week at CTIA Wireless 2008.

Femtos, obviously, were a huge topic of discussion, and, as the following LRTV report shows, carriers in different parts of the world will flock to femtos at different times, provided they ultimately think the devices themselves solve enough problems to justify adding another box in consumer homes:

As for Genband, the company's wireless gateway is primed to be the onramp for network traffic that must make its way from femtocells in the wired broadband network to the wireless carrier's mobile core network.

Vogt says: "The only way carriers can afford to deliver $50 flat-rate services is through femtocells" -- his point being that operators have to provide more data services to stay competitive, even while the price folks are willing to pay for mobile data is falling. So using femtos to backhaul that data traffic cheaply is an attractive idea for operators.

I guess if femtocells do provide for faster data access and a better user experience, that could encourage more data use inside the home -- perhaps services that are perceived as more valuable and, therefore, worth a few extra bucks on top of the basic flat-rate data charges.

Of course, Genband's pop from femtocells is a little ways off. A single G9 gateway, Genband's product people say, is able to support as many as 400,000 femtos at once. So it may be a while before that many more G9s are required in addition to the usual carrier requirements for wireless gateways.

— Phil Harvey, Editor, Light Reading

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