While 3G is still the predominant access technology, and expected to remain so for the next five years, LTE and 3G/LTE multimode femtocell are showing significant growth in shipments as well.
Next year, 2014, standalone 4G LTE femtocells will show a more pronounced presence in the market following the general development of the LTE market, but the key player is expected to be 3G/LTE multimode. The number of shipments is likely to increase by 350% in 2014 and a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 198% is estimated between 2013 and 2018. “ The introduction of 3G/4G multimode femtocells will allow smoother transition and faster adoption of 4G,” comments Ahmed Ali, research analyst.
Femtocell access points implemented by end users require a level of built-in intelligence in contrast to easy-access macro cell sites. The femtocell market is currently focused on developing access points’ capabilities like Self-Organizing Networks (SON) and interference management mechanisms. Nevertheless, femtocell management systems are also an important and essential piece for a successful deployment. With the standardization of management system interfaces, vendors are looking to go beyond basic management functions and integrate advanced features in order to provide operators with higher level of control, easier management, and room to implement additional services.
“While today’s voice services continue to be provided by the 3G network and data by 4G, a converged management system is a must for every successful femtocell deployment. We believe this gives operators headroom to gracefully extend their network to 4G and plan future enhancements,” says Nick Marshall, principal analyst.
While the femtocell market is still developing, operators are exploring ways to generate revenue out of their femtocell networks. Indoor location-based services are increasingly in demand and are expected to become a crucial aspect of femtocell services. “ The Service Manager or Service Enabler module is an essential component in today’s femtocell management systems and is a key element in differentiating a femtocell solution, ” adds Ali.
These findings are part of ABI Research’s Enterprise and Consumer Femtocells Research Service .
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