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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Commercial launch of CDMA femtocell service

OK, this has come a little out of left-field. Sprint has launched a CDMA-based femto, manufactured by Samsung. I was expecting Sprint to push for WiMAX femtos when it launches (especially as 2.5GHz will have a hard time penetrating in-building), but I hadn't reckoned on them pursuing a similar approach for the mainstream CDMA cellular network.

Initially I though it might just be a repeater (widely used in Korea), but no, it's a proper broadband-connected femto. It was actually announced back in March & called UbiCell by Samsung - although at that point is wasn't obvious that it was so close to real, large-scale deployment rather than just going into operator testing like most of the UMTS/HSDPA ones.

One interesting feature is that it ships 'open' by default so any Sprint customer can use it - a sort of cellular FON model, I guess.

I'm guessing that RF management might be a bit easier in CDMA than UMTS.... but if anyone else has theories on how CDMA femtos have pulled out what I guess is a 18-24 month lead in largescale commercial shipments, I'd be fascinated to hear them.

1 comment:

Liviou said...

Hi Dean,
So Femto is about wrapping the CDMA data into IP packets and send them over an Internet connection?
Sounds bit like UMA or GEN, no?

But as you pointed out, it might get nasty between the IP and telephone operators.

Actually rather funny since the VOIP guys like Skype and Fringe are stealing business from the voice incumbents.
And now, the other way round, when the incumbents are "stealing" internet bandwidth for their voice business ;-)