Feeds

UK Femtocell manufacturer goes it alone

What happens if you bring the water to the horse?

The Power of One Infographic

A UK manufacturer is planning to sell Femtocells direct to the public, just as soon as it can get enough punters signed up to force interoperation on the network operators.

The femtocell comes from HSL - Hay Systems Ltd. - who have eschewed the usual path of making deals with network operators in favour of a straight-to-consumer pitch. They'll need to get some registrations of interest if they're going to get network operators to hand over some spectrum, however, not to mention agreements to integrate the back ends.

Femtocells are tiny base stations that use the customer's broadband for backhaul and provide coverage with a house-and-garden sort of range. When the concept was first developed it was assumed that femtocells would sell via quad-play operators: companies that could prioritise their own voice traffic over their own broadband network to ensure quality of service. In fact, the UK's first femtocell deployment, from Vodafone, is purely parasitic and rides over any old broadband connection with best-effort quality.

Taking that to the next stage is HSL, who want to sell a femtocell direct to you at a comparable price to Vodafone's offering (£160). Their product has the ability to work with any network operator, or even multiple network operators, over your own broadband connection. To do that HSL needs two things: radio spectrum in which to operate, and integration into the network-operators' back end.

To get those things HSL has set up a web site, where punters can register an interest. They are using this to accumulate numbers, which the company can then take to the network operator in the hope that the operator will pay the ongoing cost of routing calls into their network.

But HSL's femtocell is 2G rather than 3G - reliable voice and broad handset support, in exchange for slower speeds - and every network operator in the UK is already testing 3G femtocell deployments, so one has to wonder why they would allow such a thing. Sell a customer a femtocell and they're even more locked in than with a contract - femtocells can't be unlocked and used on a rival's network - so there seems little incentive for the network operators to open up, unless HSL can generate overwhelming amounts of interest.

More interesting is the idea of a company such as UK01 providing HSL femtocells. UK01 is trying to build a GSM network using low-powered transmitters operating in the GSM guard bands, with roaming agreements to cover the gaps.

Femtocells would make a great deal of sense to such an operator. We asked HSL about this, and they admitted to being in talks with at least one company of this nature, but wouldn't be drawn on the details. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
Orange spent weekend spamming customers with TXTs
Zero, not infinity, is the Magic Number customers want
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
NBN Co execs: No FTTN product until 2015
Faster? Not yet. Cheaper? No data
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.