A Femtocell is a router slightly larger than the Fonera that transforms a cable or ADSL home line signal into a 3G signal. But unlike Wi-Fi, 3G signals are private, so only the operators can authorize Femtocells. They have been designed with the exclusive purpose of giving better indoor mobile coverage for their owner. So currently Femto are the opposite of Fon which is designed to give coverage both to the owner and into the streets. But while Femto seems to be limited in order to protect telcos, it is interesting that Fon has been able to team up with many telcos including BT, SFR, Zon and others to build WiFi networks geared outdoors. Why? Because nowadays big telcos are competing with each other, not only in the marketplace trying to lower customer acqusition costs and churn. Behind the market wars there are the capex wars, and Fon helps 3G operators to unload 3G traffic through WiFi thereby reducing hugely expensive 3G capex.
Now Ubiquisys has another interesting way to unload 3G traffic and that is to create micro cells that cost 100 euros vs 300,000 to the tower and to ask customers to use their own DSL/Cable/Fiber connections to send the traffic that normally goes through these towers. So think of the combination, think of a Femtofonera a Fonera that creates both a WiFi and a 3G network out of the Femtofonero home and gives the Fonero free WiFi and 3G roaming in exchange for helping build the network. Now that is a powerful concept, especially for the 2% of the population who could be Femtofoneros.
In this post I am interested in your opinion so here are two surveys.
The polls are in Spanish because they are a continuation of a Spanish blog post. The first poll deals with a 100 euro FemtoFonera that ONLY improves your coverage at home but does not give you free 3G roaming. No la compraria means I would not buy it. Si la compraría means I would buy it because not only it´s like a Fonera 2.0 but also I get good 3G coverage at home.
The second survey is about whether you would buy for 200 euros, a FemtoFonera that, aside from giving you better coverage in your house and having all of the functions of a Fonera 2.0, gives 3G coverage to others, and therefore gives you free roaming – meaning free 3G access in your entire country – in exchange for you installing one. Again, no la compraría ( I would not buy it) vs la compraría (I would buy it).
Here´s a video showing the concept and a Femto from Ubiquisys.
Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars