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ABI slashes femtocell shipment forecast

Posted: 17 Nov 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:femtocell  mobile market  network 

ABI Research has scaled down its estimates of femtocells shipment in its update to an April 2009 forecast. This reflects the slower-than-expected adoption of femtocells by mobile operators. The number of shipments forecast in April for 2009 was 790,000 and has been adjusted by about 55%. ABI Research now believes that only about 350,000 femtocells will have shipped by the end of the year

"Even femtocell vendors are a bit surprised that the operators haven't pushed femtocells as much or as soon as expected," says practice director Aditya Kaul. "We expect that deployments in 2010 will pick up but will be slower than expected—our data suggests about a 40 per cent reduction on previous estimates."

All the large operators in the United States have femtocell offerings including AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. Vodafone in the United Kindowm K also has a femtocell service and recently China Unicom announced its femto offering.

Still the pace of adoption has been slow. Why? Carriers are tight-lipped about their reasoning. While some observers say femtocells have yet to prove their value, Kaul points to a combination of other factors: the general economic malaise, which makes the $150 price tag of an unsubsidised femtocell harder to swallow; the time operators need to get their systems and networks ready for a femtocell deployment and to devise innovative pricing plans; a fear in some quarters that a rapid increase in femtocell numbers would cause interference in the macro network.

Kaul concludes: "We still believe in this market's potential. We anticipate that by 2014, shipments will only be about 10 per cent lower than our previous estimates. The drivers are real, but it will take longer than anticipated. Next year will be critical: if conditions don't improve by the end of 2010, some smaller vendors may find themselves in trouble."

For more statistics and forecasts, click here.

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