New trials, services, advertising campaigns, and silicon shipments top the Femtocell news this week.
Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) has started femtocell trials in Greece and Egypt, Light Reading Mobile has learned. With these latest trials, Vodafone's femto activities now span five markets. The operator offers commercial services in the UK and Spain with femtos from Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , respectively. The operator also recently started using the AlcaLu home base stations in Qatar to boost 3G coverage in public spaces, such as shopping malls and the carrier's retail shops.
Back in the UK, Vodafone had to scrap its national marketing campaign for its Sure Signal femtocell after the country's advertising watchdog ruled that the operator's original ads were misleading. So it's out with the old slogan -- which was, "Only Vodafone can guarantee mobile signal in your home" -- and in with the new, which is "Boost your signal... Vodafone Sure Signal helps you get a great signal at home." (See Vodafone Femto Ads Banned .)
Wisconsin has emerged as a veritable hotbed for femtos. The state will soon have not one but two operators offering services now that rural operator Mosaic Telecom announced plans to launch the high-speed packet access (HSPA)-based Mobile HomeCell in the fourth quarter this year.
What's the opposite of a femtocell? Deltenna Ltd. 's WiBE (wireless broadband enabler) device fits that description. The UK startup unveiled the rural signal booster last week as the Femtocells World Summit was going on.
The self-install device uses the 3G network to create a WiFi hotspot in the home, bringing broadband access connections up to 2 Mbit/s to areas that cannot be reached by wireline infrastructure or served reliably by 3G networks. The WiBE is similar in concept to Novatel Wireless Inc. (Nasdaq: NVTL)'s MiFi 3G/WiFi router, except that it uses clever antennas and alignment algorithms to pick up weak 3G signals.
Femto chip startup Percello Ltd. claims it will have shipped 300,000 units by the end of the second quarter this year, according to Yoav Volloch, the company's VP of business development, who was speaking at the Femtocells World Summit in London. (See Percello Intros HSPA+ Femto SoC.)
And here's the best of the rest of this week's femto news: