Keep femto prices under $100: Chunghwa

Keep femto prices under $100: Chunghwa

Melissa Chua  |   April 07, 2011
telecomasia.net
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Price is a critical factor to successful femtocell deployment, Chunghwa Telecom’s mobile chief Shih Mu-Piao said at Femtocell Asia 2011 this week.
 
Shi told attendees that vendors should look toward keeping prices below $100, or even $50.
 
Chunghwa Telecom has trialed femto technology for two years but has yet to launch a commercial service due to regulatory and technical issues. No date has been set for a commercial femto rollout.
 
Government regulations in Taiwan have classified femtocells as base stations, with operators assuming responsibility for installation. All femto locations are required to be reported to the regulator.
 
“It’s taken almost two years, but the new rulings will help femto deployment in Taiwan,” said Shih. “3G operators have become more aggressive in evaluating and planning femto deployment, and ICT manufacturers in the country can help keep femtocell costs low.”
 
Chunghwa’s plan for femto deployment includes first enhancing coverage in areas with poor network reception. The next phase of deployment will center upon the offload its 3.5G network.
 
“Femto could fill the same role Wi-Fi does in offloading network traffic. We already have WiFi hotspots in 7-11 stores and McDonald’s outlets; femto could bring new life to Wi-Fi,” Shih said.
 
The operator’s business model for femto concerns bundled packages with mobile or DSL subscriptions. “Negotiations between mobile operators and backhaul operators will need to take place. The two are brothers in Chunghwa’s case, but may not be so for others.”
 
Other aspects that Chunghwa is looking into before going commercial are OSS and billing integration, call center and reseller provisioning, inventory management and the repair-return process.
 
“Dense femto deployment requires interference mitigation techniques such as smart algorithms to optimize the cells’ performance,” Shih said. “Operators have to decide where femtos should be located and restrain illegal usage.”
 
A possible deployment scenario in Taiwan would involve various combinations of femto and DSL operators, he added.
Melissa Chua

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