Femtocells are mini cellsites that you install in your living room in order to receive better coverage for your mobile phone when you’re at home. The technology is being promoted by global communication giants Alcatel Lucent and NEC to local telcos Vodafone and Telecom as an opportunity to enhance the mobile user’s experience.
But if the whole point of a mobile phone is so I can connect when I’m out and about, why would I care about home coverage when I have a fixed line instalment?
According to global research from Alcatel Lucent, 50% of mobile calls are made from home, and there is a huge market of frustrated mobile users ready to invest in a femtocell.
The first challenge is to get the marketing right, according to Alcatel Lucent senior marketing manager David Swift – who flew into New Zealand recently to promote the technology. He says that in some countries it was sold as a “cell extender” but this conjured up negative images in consumers’ minds.
Vodafone UK began selling femtocells in July, and on its Web site the word femtocell doesn’t feature; instead it’s marketed under the label Vodafone Access Gateway, which can be bought for £160 ($NZ405) or £5 ($13) a month on selected plans.