Home basestations could reach 103 million by 2013

Up to 103 million homes could be hosting base-stations for mobile services by 2013, according to market analysts ABI Research.

Mobile operators want to their customers to keep using their services, even when they are at home and within reach of a landline. To do this they are introducing home basestations that connect to their networks over broadband, and connect to the user’s handsets using Wi-Fi or low-power cellular links.

Several operators have already introduced Wi-Fi dual-mode basestations based on the unlicensed mobile access (UMA) part of the 3GPP standard. They include T-Mobile in the US (as T-Mobile @Home) and Orange (unik) in France, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Now Sprint in the US has introduced a basestation that uses femtocell low-power cellular technology, which means that customers don’t need special dual-mode, cellular and Wi-Fi equipped handsets.

Stuart Carlaw, vice president and research director of ABI Research, said: “We expect cellular-based femtocells to have taken over the baton from UMA- and SiP-based Wi-Fi solutions by 2013, seizing 62% of the market.

 “Although UMA-based Wi-Fi solutions have seen early gains in green-field markets, these solutions have not proliferated much outside their current carrier footprints. This can be attributed partly to the carriers’ desire to assess femtocell developments, but also to lingering concerns regarding the concept of Wi-Fi based fixed-mobile convergence.”

The data comes from ABI Research’s recent study “Fixed-Mobile Convergence”.

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