Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Misunderstanding the 10% problem

It's no secret femtocells have stalled in the industry.  

The 90% with a 10% coverage problem
Routinely operators say they believe that approximately 10% (or less) of their subscribers have acoverage problem.  Yet even the largest deployments typically address less than 1% of an operator’s subscriber base.  

Femtocells are at loggerheads – consumers don’t want to buy them to fix something they expect from the operator (namely coverage) and operators can’t afford to subsidize them to the 10% that need them. 

Clearly the problem of coverage isn't solved.  

But I think perhaps the definition of the 10% is mis-understood.  The assumption that 10% of subscribers are coverage challenged implies that 90% of their subscribers don’t have an issue. 

It’s more subtle than that.  Coverage isn’t an all or nothing proposition. 

I think of it like this:  More likely, 90% of subscribers have a coverage problem in 10% of the places they go during the day.  It may be that some of those places aren’t as important as others, but for some, the problem is inside the home, or in their office or a conference room or some place where they really need reliable service. 

In these locations, there is a need for femtocell capabilities, but a physical femtocell has proven to be impractical. 

What’s needed is a dynamic application that gives subscribers the ability to enable femtocell capabilities when and where they need it – basically coverage on demand.

This is what Kineto’sSmart Wi-Fi application provides.  It delivers a femtocell experience (better coverage, offload, capacity) from any Wi-Fi access point, anywhere in the world.  It’s an app that sits dormant on the phone until subscribers need coverage, and then Voila! – any Wi-Fi access point will do. 

The need for a better, faster mobile experience remains, and will only get more urgent as smartphones proliferate.  Smart Wi-Fi is the first, and only tool, mobile operators can give their subscribers that improves the mobile network experience without breaking the bank.

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