Thursday, March 24, 2011

The 0.2% Solution

At the “Path to 4G” event hosted by Fierce Wireless, and held in conjunction with the CTIA 2011 show in Orlando, Sprint’s vp of network development Iyad Tarazi disclosed that the company has 0.1 million femtocells deployed.

I think the word ‘disclosed’ is key.

0.1 million (aka 100,000) femtocells is nothing to be proud of, but honestly, I don't know what Sprint's expectations were.

Let’s consider the history.  Sprint launched their ‘Airave’ to much fanfare in August 2008.  At the time, the devices were featured prominently in their retail shops.  And in August, 2010, Sprint actually offered to give them away for FREE.

So after three years and giving them away for FREE, Sprint’s been able to actually pawn off 0.1 million devices.   With 50 million subscribers, this works out to a paltry 0.2% of the subscriber base.

How many of these units are actually active?  Many people I speak with who got a femtocell (not necessarily from Sprint) say they tried it and discarded it.

Compare this with T-Mobile’s Wi-Fi Calling service, which has roughly 5 million subscribers.  Of course they aren’t active all the time, but it’s certainly a lot more than 0.1m.

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