Small cells

Honey, I Shrunk the Femto

8:30 PM -- U.K. femtocell pioneer Ubiquisys Ltd. took the wraps off an attocell today. Yes, you did read that correctly, an attocell.

It's described as a personal femtocell. It has been designed for the iPhone, but it works with any 3G device and has been tested with RIM-, Nokia- and Android-based smart phones. (See Ubiquisys Gives iPhone a Personal Femtocell.)

But first, a little history: The term attocell cropped up back in 2008 in an April 1 post on the "3G in the Home" blog site. But the Ubiquisys product is no joke.

Basically, when people travel internationally the device lets mobile calls be made and received as if the users were in their home country. So it provides another way to get around having to pay high international roaming charges.

The attocell connects to a laptop via USB, which supplies power and an Internet connection. The device adjusts its radio transmit power to be just below the licensed level depending on what country it finds itself. That means the range of the device will vary. In some places it could be just 5 mm while in other locations it could be an entire room.

It's certainly a new twist on femtocells. Ubiquisys says the product was designed for a specific operator, which it could not name, and that it is talking to several operators about the product. But it's questionable how happy operators are going to be about such devices being used by international roamers on their networks.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

Arno_K 12/5/2012 | 5:14:29 PM
re: Honey, I Shrunk the Femto

please clarify use case

Dixson 12/5/2012 | 5:14:27 PM
re: Honey, I Shrunk the Femto

Just 5mm coverage? I think there is no where for Femto. I have ADSL and WiFi, why I still need a Femto. I just saw market report only 8% operators think Femto is matured to be deployed.

shygye75 12/5/2012 | 5:14:24 PM
re: Honey, I Shrunk the Femto

Isn't 5 millimeters like two-tenths of an inch?

Michelle Donegan 12/5/2012 | 5:14:16 PM
re: Honey, I Shrunk the Femto

As I understand it, when the range of the attocell is as small as just 5mm, you would simply put your iPhone down on top of the device, then it would connect automatically. To make phone calls, you'd then need to use a wired or Bluetooth headset, or use the speakerphone.

So is that just too clunky to be useful or totally worth the effort to avoid data roaming charges?



Sign In