Small cells have been big news lately as operators look for new ways to meet growing demand for mobile broadband. Femto small cells are already providing localized 3G mobile broadband coverage and capacity for homes and offices.
The good news about femto is worth repeating: a proven technology, commercially available and just what operators need to build targeted coverage for specific locations, increase customer loyalty and offload traffic from their macro network.
For Nokia Siemens Networks, the steady drumbeat of news about femto started with the introduction and development of our 3G Femto Home Access solution and continued in June 2010, when we announced the world’s first 3GPP Release 8 standards-compliant 3G femtocell solution. This solution, for Mosaic Telecom, is now in commercial operation and is also the first commercial deployment of femtocells in the AWS (Advanced Wireless Services) spectrum. As Rick Vergin, chief executive of Mosaic, stated in February when their network was deployed: “Femtocells will greatly reduce our capital and operating expenditures…they are ideal for our predominantly rural presence.”
Our 3GPP-compliant femto solution, first in Release 8 with an open Iuh interface and now in Release 9, gives operators a choice both of business models and technology options. Because our architecture solution is based on open interfaces, they can opt for an end-to-end solution that is also future proof. For providers like Mosaic, the result for their subscribers is better indoor 3G coverage for high-speed data services and enhanced voice call quality.
Like other small cell solutions, femtocells have a crucial role to play in meeting the appetite for more data. The market interest and our record reflect this potential. We have done interworking testing with all the major core network vendors, and our team has conducted over 20 trials around the world. If you add up our deliveries, we have provided capacity for hundreds of thousands access points across dozens of femto gateways. Most importantly, we already have eight customers, in the US, Europe, Middle East and Asia, some with plans for massive femto deployments, and many other are discussions underway.
This post is by Kai Sahala from Nokia Siemens Networks’ mobile broadband team.