Rumor: BT Preps Femto Offer
The move would give Vodafone UK its first femto competition in the country.
The service, expected to launch this fall, would follow in the footsteps of Vodafone's Sure Signal service. BT, though, would be the first mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) to offer femtocells, the small base stations that boost indoor 3G coverage. (See Brits Get Femtos From July 1 .)
BT does not have 3G spectrum of its own, but it uses Vodafone's network to offer mobile services through an MVNO relationship. The femtocell service that BT is planning is likely to be an extension of its MVNO deal with Vodafone.
It's understood that BT will use the same femto devices as Vodafone -- designed by Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) and made by Sagem Télécommunications SA -- to target small businesses and consumers suffering from poor indoor coverage. But BT would not use Vodafone's Sure Signal brand for the femto. (See Vodafone Revs Femto Engine, Femto Watch: Vodafone Means Business in Spain, and Femto Watch: Vodafone Expands Footprint .)
BT had not responded to Light Reading Mobile's questions as this article was published.
BT's interest in the small indoor base stations goes at least as far back as 2007, when the carrier said that it was evaluating the technology. (See BT Eyes Femtocells and Cisco, Ericsson Swell Femto Forum Ranks.)
Another femto option for BT would be to integrate the home base station technology into its Home Hub residential gateways, which is something the carrier is considering. (See Femto Players Gun for Gateways.)
— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile