Operator deployment plans and new products dominated the femto news from CTIA.
The carrier has set price schemes for the femtos that are designed to encourage customers to take other AT&T services. For example, customers that sign up to the Microcell unlimited calling plan can get the femto for $50 after a $100 mail-in rebate from the carrier. In addition, if customers take an AT&T broadband service when they buy the femto, they will be eligible for a $50 mail-in rebate. Customers that take both the unlimited calls service and a new broadband subscription will effectively get the femto for free after the rebates.
Tarazi said Sprint is testing WiMax picocells from three different companies in more than 10 locations.
Tarazi also said that femtocells are more appropriate for 3G while picocells are better suited for Sprint's proto-4G WiMax network to improve indoor coverage. Click on the image below to see the interview (the femto discussion starts around the 3:45 mark):
The exception here is NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM), which offers dedicated content for femto subscribers and a location-aware application. (See DoCoMo to Upgrade Its Femtos.)
Like indoor femtos for homes or offices, the metro femto uses cable or DSL broadband lines for backhaul. In the US market, for example, the Colo-Node HSPA femto can be mounted on telephone poles and use the cable infrastructure for backhaul, explains Ubiquisys CTO Will Franks, noting that the installation would take just one hour for one engineer. Franks would not comment on whether the product was in trials with operators.
And there has been plenty of other femto fun at CTIA. Here's a snapshot of the news so far:
- CTIA 2010: Qualcomm Snags First Femto Wins
- Airvana Claims 3G Faster on Femto
- picoChip Showcases LTE Femtocell Silicon
- Tatara Touts 3GPP2 Femto Standard
- Qualcomm Powers AirWalk Femtos
- AirHop, NetLogic Team for Small Cells
- ADC Talks Up DAS Over Femtos
- Forum Makes Case for LTE Femtos
— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile