Femtocells, FMC, Wi-Fi

There’s an interesting article on femtocells in EETimes. It mentions the Femto Forum. It is a thoughtful look at the prospects for femtocells, a welcome counterbalance to the hype. The most telling quote is from the CTO of Ubiquisys:

We—that is, the femtocell ecosystem—probably have a two-year window to make our mark, ensure we come up with standard interfaces, and, above all, avoid fragmentation.

The two year comment is about beating Wi-Fi dual mode phones to the punch. But currently the primary driver for Wi-Fi in cell phones is feature inflation in high-end handsets, not FMC. In other words, there are really two dynamics driving Wi-Fi into handsets, FMC is the minor one and feature inflation is the major one; femtocells don’t affect the latter.

So if femtocells overcome their numerous challenges, FMC services for consumers will come mainly through femtocells. Femtocells will not impact Wi-Fi attach rate much, since Wi-Fi is becoming a checklist feature on high end phones. How useful the Wi-Fi in these handsets will be depends on how successful the phone makers are at keeping them open.

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