Let’s get jargon out of the way: femtocells are devices that operators typically sell to consumers so that they can not only get better reception in their house, say if they’re living on the edge of the network, but to also offload traffic for people who are actually trying to use the mobile network while they’re … you know, mobile. Femtocells work like a WiFi router. You plug your broadband internet connection into a WiFi access point, or in this case a femotocell, and out comes wireless signals that can cover an average sized home, but no more. There’s a British company out there, picoChip, that designs said femotocells and they’ve got the financial backing of companies such as Samsung, Intel and AT&T.
Today they’re announcing that they’ve made a femtocell that can be used by more than just a handful of people, this new device can be put in areas where there are a large cluster of customers. It not only does voice, but also handles HSPA+ with up to 42 Mbps speeds. The hardest part of building out a wireless network is installing the towers. There’s so much paperwork and infrastructure considerations that operators may start looking at sprinkling femtocells powered by picoChip’s PC333 processor into established locations.
Say for example Starbucks. What if AT&T entered into negotiations with America’s most popular coffee house and installed femtocells inside so that the huge flood of traffic their networks experiences every morning as people drink their thousand calorie coffee while checking their email is greatly reduced, thereby giving a better quality of service to people walking down the street and talking into their mobile phones?
It’s a dream, but I’ve also wondered why Verizon and AT&T, America’s number 1 and number 2 wireless operators, don’t bundle femtocells with their television receivers? Most Americans typically subscribe to home broadband and television service from the same company. A while back they also offered landlines too, but no one uses those. Why not have 1 bill for voice, data (both mobile and home), and TV? I know I’d want that.
[Additional information about femtocells here]