Feeds

The death of the mobile phone tower?

Eaten by pregnant lamppost

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Mobile World Congress While they sneer at people who flock to weeping statues, the British middle class may be the most superstitious people on the planet. But at least one object of their irrational fears, the mobile phone mast, may be on its way out.

That's due to the falling cost of a femtocell, a micro base station about the size of a cable modem. With the cost of a femtocell reckoned to fall to around $50 in a couple of years, the economics don't favour today's high-rise erections. Femtocells strung from lampposts have real economic advantages, especially when the site acquisition costs and lengthy planning and consultation procedures for masts are taken into account.

One established vendor reports that a mobile operator is set to deploy LTE on femtocells in preference to masts in all but rural areas.

These femtocells need backhaul, of course, and power – although Vodafone is trialling a new generation of "pregnant lampposts" that combines both. Strangely, both "pregnant lamppost" and "pregnant lampposts" are perfect Googlewhacks at the time of writing. You read it here first...

Mobile operators have found some ingenious ways of disguising the cells. Palm Tree installations are a common sight in Los Angeles, and Mike Pratt has a gallery of British and other masts here.

Mobile phone mast

There's something odd about that tree... [credit: Mike Pratt]

Who'll buy me a femtocell?

Femtocells were the most-talked about technology of MWC 2008, and this year will see serious trials take place. O2 is an example we discussed earlier in the week. Which begs the question - "Why the %&*! would I want one?"

And while the topic deserves much more in-depth treatment, read on for why you should drive a really hard bargain.

Since what the operators are really doing is sticking a proprietary front-end onto an open network (and one that we already pay for) we ought to be demanding some really attractive deals.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.