Small cells

The Femto X Factor

5:45 PM -- As the femtocell market just begins to take shape, it's a good time to single out the companies that are at the cutting edge of technology development and service deployment. And Light Reading Mobile, recognized for its news coverage of the nascent femto industry, is one of the judges again this year for the Femto Forum Ltd. 's industry awards.

Now, don't get too excited here. We can't tell you anything about the awards.

In terms of the femto state of play, though, there are only about 10 real, live commercial femtocell services running today, as noted in our report, Who Does What: Femtocell Services. (See CTIA 2010: AT&T Femtos Go Commercial in April, Vodafone Revs Femto Engine, and France Fires Up Femtocells.)

But there are signs that femto technology could potentially go beyond the original intent of the little home base stations, which was simply to improve indoor voice and data coverage. For example, femtocells are being touted as one way to bring GSM coverage to rural areas. Femtocell technology may also underpin the outdoor "small cells" that some say will be deployed in Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks. And new femto applications could potentially bring in extra service revenues for operators. (See Orange, T-Mobile Go Slow on Femtos , MWC Preview: Femtos Go Macro, AirWalk Preps LTE Picocell Proto for CTIA, picoChip Showcases LTE Femtocell Silicon, MWC Preview: Femtos Go Macro, and ip.access Unveils 3G Femto SDK.)

So, who's got the femto X factor? Well, you'll just have to wait to find out. In the meantime, Light Reading Mobile will continue to bring you the latest femto news and analysis.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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