Femtocell industry to boom in 2011 and beyond

The femtocell industry is expected to see strong growth in 2011 and subsequent years, according to the latest quarterly market status report from Informa Telecoms & Media.

The report, which was prepared for industry association Femto Forum, forecasts that the industry is likely to boom over the next few years with femtocell access points reaching 49 million by 2014. 

Sales of femtocell units are expected to be 25 million in 2014, with 114 million mobile users accessing their network through femtocells in the that year.

Femtocells are small base stations used to create a mobile phone signal in homes and businesses that have poor signals or none at all. It can be used to extend coverage and many operators will offer call discounts to those operating femtocells, since they run through existing broadband connections.

The growth is largely down to semiconductor company Broadcom’s entry into the market with the acquisition of Israeli femtocell firm Percello and renewed femtocell efforts by mobile operators over the last few months. 

The US, via Verizon, and Moldova, via MolTelecom, have begun offering new 3G femtocell services recently, while Australia, Turkey and Taiwan operators have announced plans to deploy femtocell technology in 2011.

Even the Femto Forum itself has shown signs of substantial growth, with increases recorded in its membership base over the past year. It now has 72 vendors and 58 mobile operators as members. These operators represent 1.71 billion mobile subscribers or a third of all global subscribers.