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Femto Cell Networks


Technically Femto Cell is private usage equipment, similar to Wi-Fi router, but protocols, bands and interfaces are exactly corresponding to cellular network standards, that access can be done with regular cellular modem or cellular phone. Original idea had relation to WCDMA/HSPA, but now actually it covers all kind of possible standards, including WiMAX, UMB and LTE.

The only difference is that everything here is in smaller portions, compare to operators equipment. For example there is just 0.01- 0.1 Watt of RF power and just 4 to 8 end-users. Also, connection of Femto Cell unit to Mobile Operator Network can be done over LAN (Ethernet) or ADSL. So, there is no need, let say, professional connection line, like MPLS or E1/T1.

Important issue for application part is to have easy and proof connection to subscriber’s database of the Operator (for example HLR or HSS). Meantime there must be done sufficient changes in Operator’s systems to mark out such connections. In particular it uses more simple security and transport, it consumes less resources of the Network, it needs less management as not related to the Operator’s own equipment. Finally all this facts mean less cost and therefore less price, therefore should be strictly marked out in billing system!


· Most simple usage of Femto Cell is to use it as Wireless Home Router, without interrogation of Operator’s Network. Then we have solution same as with Wi-Fi router, but the only difference (considering as benefit) is that the end-user do not need to buy additional gadgets and can use a Cellular Phone or Cellular Modem which already are.

· Then we have most common usage – to make regular calls (using MSISDN numbers) with interrogation of Operator’s Network, but with cheaper rates as traffic goes over subscriber’s Ethernet or ADSL connection. This was the original idea of creating Femto Cell.

· After that there is a possibility to have access to Internet with cheap rates. This is not so attractive opportunity itself, as there are not too much reasons to have access to Internet from mobile phone, when the subscriber is in home. However, it’s a step to Convergent Networks. Finally the target is to have unique access technology to various services. For example, if we speak about LTE (in terms of RF access), then we have some Mobile Device (like Ultra Portable Notebook, SmartPhone or PDA) which has only LTE chip, but around there are

o access to Cellular 3G Networks (Voice and Internet services, when subscriber is out of the home)

o access to PLMN, when subscriber at home (Device acting as kind of DECT phone, but base device compatible with LTE standard, instead of DECT)

o access to Broadband Internet, when subscriber at home (Then there must be some Wireless Router connected to LAN or ADSL, but compatible with LTE standard, instead of currently used Wi-Fi)

o As a consequence there is a possibility to use such Mobile Device for access to Enterprise VPN or ATS/MSC or to have an access to some Content Dedicated networks, which are developed in some areas like Business Centers, Exhibitions, Malls and so on.


Femto Cell appearing is not just new technology product, which is alternative to existing products. This is not even so innovative in fact, but just comprises parts from different telecom technologies, which are exist already.

However, this mix of existing technologies brings a lot of completely new businesses. These Businesses caused by present trend of moving to Convergent Networks and presence of Fast Internet access in each home. Additional benefit for new comers in wireless telecom is that Femto Cell technology provides low cost entrance into the Business.

As the result, mentioned properties of Femto Cell technology (new for the market, easy, cheap) and present market trends (convergence, home internet access) are allowing the following business cases:

· allowing short term and low cost trials by Mobile Operators and IT corporations

· business development by small and medium businesses (which can be near telecom and even not related to telecom – for example WEB-portals or Content Owners),

· allowing even start-ups by group of enthusiasts (start-up budged can be as low as 1-2 monthly salaries of group of 3-5 telecom engineers, for example)

More details see in the articleFemto-MVNOin Business Cases partition.

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