Picocells, the ‘big brothers’ of the increasingly familiar femtocells, have not enjoyed rapid or massive adoption so far. However ABI Research estimates that in 2013, there will have been cumulative deployments of about 366,000 picocell devices worldwide. While not a huge number in itself, that represents a 38% compound annual growth rate over the years from 2008.
“The key to greater market acceptance for picocells lies in their increasing similarity to femtocells in terms of their setup and cost,” said senior analyst Aditya Kaul. “However, unlike femtocells which are largely consumer focused, next generation picocells will continue to be targeted at the enterprise market, offering rugged, carrier grade feature sets. There is also an understanding that many of these new picocells will still require a truck roll for deployment, although offering a lower cost device than the traditional picocell.”
The most suitable market is comprised of establishments with between 20 and 100 employees. “Large buildings and corporate campuses tend to deploy distributed antenna systems (DAS),” said Kaul. “Operators haven’t really succeeded yet in delivering a cost efficient system for small to medium offices. Within the 20 to 100 employee market, our research identified, the 20 to 49 employee group will see competition between picocells and domestic femtocells deployed in grids. The sweet spot for picocells is in the 50 to 100 employee segment. One good example is satellite offices of larger corporations that have a corporate account covering multiple branches: they could use next generation picocells in a cost effective way.”