Femtocells are fast becoming a key differentiator for mobile carriers, a study conducted for the Femto Forum has found.
The research discovered that 42% of subscribers currently considering a change would stick with their current carrier if it offered improved indoor voice coverage via femtocells, while 18% said they would swap service providers to gain access to the technology.
Research firm Parks Associates surveyed 6,100 users in the UK, US, China, Germany, Japan and Spain.
It found that 60% of mobile users with broadband in their homes are interested in using femtocells to boost voice coverage, with the greatest interest coming from Wi-Fi users.
However, interest in other services available through femtocells is also on the up, with 68% of subscribers who said they wanted femtocells being interested in services including a virtual home number that rings every mobile in the household, and family alerts that indicate when a subscriber has left or entered their home.
“A significant number of users are very excited by the advanced services enabled by femtocells, indicating that the appeal extends widely,” Park’s mobile product research director Harry Wang states, adding. “Beyond this, heavy users of mobile data are both the most interested in femtocells and the most likely to pay for the service.”
Users in China showed the greatest awareness of femtocells, while Japan bucked the trend towards improved voice coverage with users stating they would use the technology to boost data speeds.
Informa Telecoms & Media predicts 114 million mobile users will use femtocells to access their network in 2014, as the number of access points hits 49 million.