Monday, May 02, 2011

AT&T CTO: Subsidizing femtocells won’t fix our network

Wow, that's a pretty blatant statement, and it's the title of an article by Devindra Hardawar at Venture Beat.

We've been following the femtocell market since it's inception four years ago. 

It's clear the bloom has come off the rose, and that the reality of what femtocells can, and can't, do is clear.

I think what's really being said is that in places where the femtocell is deployed a long way from a macro signal, things work pretty well.

But in areas with marginal or good AT&T coverage, the femtocell introduces more interference, outweighing any benefit of added capacity.

In addition, by drawing a line in the sand saying "data on femtos count against data caps," AT&T has clearly pigeon-holed them into 'save' solution for people with zero coverage.

What about data offload? What about places with marginal coverage?

Certainly a Smart Wi-Fi solution would work. Wi-Fi, completely agnostic to the macro cellular network, doesn't interfere at all. Plus it's already in the places where people want coverage - the home and office. And it helps to drive offload, because 50-66% of mobile data usage occurs in the home/office.

We could have this problem licked in no time.

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