Small cells

SFR Sets Femtos Free in France

French operator SFR is the first in Europe to offer 3G femtocells for free, with the launch of its new SFR Femto offer.

Any SFR 3G subscribers who request femtocells will be sent the little device, which plugs into the operator's Neufbox home gateways. The femto costs €49 (US$66), but customers are automatically reimbursed for this charge as soon as they connect and activate the device.

U.K.-based femtocell specialist Ubiquisys Ltd. supplies the femto technology, and SFR's free offer will start in the middle of October.

Why this matters
This is the first official launch of a free femtocell service in Europe, but not the first in the world. Japan's SoftBank Corp. , for example, has been offering free femtos (also supplied by Ubiquisys), while Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) offers its 3G femtos for free to qualifying customers in the U.S. (See More 3G Femtos Coming to the US and Softbank Kicks Off Free Femto Giveaway .)

SFR's move to offer femtos for free could be the start of a trend in the region that would change the operator business model for the small base stations that resolve indoor coverage problems.

For more
Catch up on the femto action in France.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

Michelle Donegan 12/5/2012 | 4:52:46 PM
re: SFR Sets Femtos Free in France

I think SFR has the best ad for a femocell - check it out here:

SFR Femto



Michelle Donegan 12/5/2012 | 4:52:46 PM
re: SFR Sets Femtos Free in France

Free makes the most sense for the femto business case. Having said that, I'm annoyed enough with the coverage in my house that if Orange offered femtos here, I would actually pay for one. 

Anne Morris 12/5/2012 | 4:52:45 PM
re: SFR Sets Femtos Free in France

Love the ad - I'd get one if I didn't have good coverage!

When last in the UK I was in a basement flat and had terrible coverage, so I did get a Vodafone femto. Interestingly the femto interfered with the WiFi router - apparently they had to be located as far from each other as possible. I wonder if that aspect has now been improved.

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