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Should operators choose Wi-Fi or femtocells to offload traffic?

Steven Hartley | July 5, 2010
Femtocell summit highlights co-existence, despite entrenched feelings to the contrary among specialists

But Femtocell Awards show just how far there is still to go

Despite growing maturity, it would be reckless to assert that femtocells are mature. There is still a long way to go, as borne out by this years Femtocell Awards. Operators (AT&T and Vodafone) won deserved awards for furthering the femtocell cause, but to date they are very coverage-focused implementations. There were also awards for standards work and components. Again these were worthy winners, but highlight how far the technology needs to go before it can claim to be as mature as Wi-Fi. Indeed, one of the winners was Ubiquisys for its metro HSPA femtocell, a ruggedized femtocell that can be used to deliver the public access offload that Wi-Fi is already delivering for AT&T in Times Square.

Therefore, operators need to answer the femtocell or Wi-Fi conundrum based on their current network assets; what is available from wholesalers today; and their future network strategies. However, they must also accept that ultimately there will be no or in the conundrum, just an and.

The writer is an Ovum analyst.


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