Femtocells yet to take off in Asia/Pacific region

Femtocells yet to take off in Asia/Pacific region

Great things expected once regulatory complications are resolved.

Femtocells - small cellular communications base stations -- will generate revenue of nearly $A5 million in 2008 from device shipments in the Asia/Pacific region, according to a new study from ABI Research.

Research director Stuart Carlaw noted: "While $5 million is a relatively modest sum in global terms, it is important to remember that it is generated from a market that barely exists yet, and as such it represents quite satisfactory early growth". Regulatory complications may play a role in femtocells' regional rollouts too. "Softbank still needs to get regulatory approval before it can roll out a femtocell service commercially. Hence, its timeline for mid-2008 may slip", said analyst, Hwai Lin Khor.

The South Korean Government has yet to finalise its fixed-mobile convergence policy, and ABI Research believes commercial femtocell services will not be introduced in the country until 2009. Femtocell prospects in India and China are heavily dependent on those countries' 3G licence developments.

"In-building wireless for enterprise markets in the Asia/Pacific region was approximately a $1.5 billion industry in 2007, with the majority of the earnings coming from distributed antenna system (DAS) deployments," Hwai Lin Khor added.

Currently, most IBW deployments in the region are of passive DAS and repeater-based solutions due to their lower cost. However, ABI Research expects more fibre optic-based active DAS deployments in the next five years, due to migration of customers to 3G technologies on 2100 MHz spectrum and an increase in the number of buildings larger than 10,000 square metres.

Len Rust is publisher of The Rust Report

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