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Can Femtocells Fix U.S. Residential Cell Phone Coverage Problems?
A femtocell—originally known as an Access Point Base Station—is a small cellular base station, typically designed for use in residential or small business environments. It connects to the service provider’s network via broadband (such as DSL or cable); current designs typically support 2 to 5 mobile phones in a residential setting. A femtocell allows service providers to extend service coverage indoors, especially where access would otherwise be limited or unavailable. A number of non-U.S. operators have announced intention to have field trials in 2008, including O2, Softbank, TeliaSonera and Vodafone. Most analysts agree that 2008 will primarily be field trials and soft launch, while commercial launch will be commence in 2009. When will the U.S. carriers get their act together and catch up to the rest of the world?