Monday, December 19, 2011

37 Femtocell deployments in 23 countries

Growing number of operators are committing to LTE small cell deployments which are expected to form a key market trend in 2012, said a recent Informa Telecoms & Media femtocell market status report.

There are currently 37 commercial deployments with regional US operator, Mosaic Telecom, being the latest to deploy femtocells. Telecom Italia announced its plans to launch before the end of the year and SK Telecom revealed it is set to launch the world’s first LTE femtocell service. Furthermore, Telefonica O2 has disclosed pre-launch details of its ‘Boostbox’ femtocell service in the UK for both consumers and enterprises. Separately, a number of deployed operators have passed 100,000 units, demonstrating the scalability and mass-market appeal of the technology.

Over the past quarter, Sprint, the first operator to deploy femtocells, announced it has rolled out 500,000 units and expects to exceed 1 million by 2013. With AT&T constituting the world’s largest femtocell deployment, it is clear that the US continues to be the most mature small cell market. However, several European and Asian operators including Vodafone UK, Japan’s Softbank and France’s SFR, announced they reached scale by surpassing 100,000 deployed units. Vodafone, which recently launched a marketing campaign around its UK femtocell offering, now offers femtocells in 12 countries and plans to deploy across the whole group.

Vodafone UK recently announced it is to offer public access rural femtocells that will be placed on BT telephone poles in order to bring coverage to “not spots” and areas where traditional base stations have not been economical. The report also highlights growing operator commitment to LTE femtocells with Verizon and Sprint announcing support in the past quarter and SK Telecom promising a commercial deployment before the end of the year. A previous survey conducted by Informa Telecoms & Media showed that 60% of operators believe small cells will be more important than macrocells in LTE networks.

CDMA operators continue to aggressively deploy femtocells with both Sprint and Verizon launching enterprise services which allow several femtocells to be linked together to cover large buildings. To assist CDMA operators, the Femto Forum and 3GPP2 recently published an operator guide detailing best practice for deployments.

There are now 37 femtocell deployments spanning 23 countries and 15 further operator commitments. In June 2011, Informa Telecoms Media estimated that there were in excess of 2.3 million femtocells active both privately in homes and offices, as well as publically in metropolitan and rural environments. As such, there are more 3G femtocells than conventional 3G base stations globally and Informa forecasts growth to continue with 48 million access points in use globally by 2014. Eight of the top 10 mobile operator groups (by revenue) offer femtocell services – this includes AT&T Group, France Telecom Group, NTT DOCOMO Group, Sprint, Telefonica Group, Deutsche Telecom Group, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone Group.

Dell’Oro Group: LTE Nearly Half of Total Market Growth

According to a recently published reports by Dell’Oro Group, 44% of third-quarter annual growth in the total Mobile Infrastructure market resulted from 4G LTE network infrastructure spending. The total mobile infrastructure market, covered by Dell’Oro Group in four primary reporting segments, Mobile Radio Access Network (RAN), Wireless Packet Core (WPC), Wireless Voice Core, and Microwave Transmission, grew year-over-year in double digits for the fourth consecutive quarter in 3Q11.

Report further states that during the same quarter, LTE RAN posted fastest sequential growth rate ever at 68% and significant VoLTE revenues were recognized for the first time ever. Evolved Packet Core captured highest portion ever of total Wireless Packet Core revenues at nearly 5%.

“Nearly half of the revenue growth in total mobility infrastructure for the third quarter resulted from LTE spending to cope with an expected influx of LTE capable handsets in 2012,” said Stefan Pongratz, Analyst at Dell’Oro Group.

“The wireless industry is responding to changes in user behavior and accelerating data demand by shifting priorities towards Evolved Packet Core (EPC), Voice Over LTE (VoLTE) and LTE radio equipment,” added Chris DePuy, Analyst at Dell’Oro Group.

Dell’Oro Group’s 3Q11 reports show that Ericsson’s four quarter trailing revenue market share in mobile RAN, WPC, wireless voice core, and microwave transmission increased by four percentage points over the same quarter last year, while Nokia Siemens Networks and Huawei each captured about 18% of the market.