NEC and O2 Trial Femtocells in the UK

NEC Corporation today announced that NEC Europe is working with mobile operator Telefonica O2 Europe to deliver the UK’s first live femtocell trial.

O2 has begun an initial period of live testing in February. If successful, the trial will be rolled out in greater numbers across the UK in the summer, with the view to a commercial launch by early 2009. NEC is providing O2 with its Femtocell Solution, which includes 3G Femtocell Access Point for direct subscriber use, Femtocell Gateway and Access Point Management and Provisioning System.

The demand for 3G mobile voice and data services is accelerating and up to 70-80% of these services are used indoors, but there remain issues with 3G radio penetrating buildings. Femtocell provides a cost-effective alternative to the macro network to improve the 3G coverage and capacity indoors. A Femtocell is a 3G access point which has been developed as a consumer device for use in buildings. Femtocells provides a low-cost dedicated 3G coverage and capacity indoor, enabling a user with an existing mobile phone to access high quality voice and high-speed data services thus enabling a true ubiquitous high speed mobile broadband experience. The European femtocell market will represent the largest global market, with 16.6 million units per annum in 2012 out of a total shipment volume of 36 million units and a market valuation of US$4.2billion, according to ABI Research.

Richard Hanscott, VP Network Solutions Division, NEC Europe, commented: “This trial marks a watershed in the industry, as the benefits of femtocell technology for both operators and subscribers will be tested and proven for everyone to see. O2 is taking a leading approach to trial this solution which will help meet subscriber demands, and will reap the benefits when the service is launched commercially. NEC is leading the development of the femtocell market, demonstrated by the fact that we currently have several further trials underway globally. NEC is also heavily involved in the femtocell standardisation activities and is board member of the Femto Forum which sets the agenda for femtocell deployment worldwide.”

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