Pricing the key to femtocell success

Nicole McCormick
28 Jun 2010
00:00
 
With six operators now offering femtocells in Asia, we finally have some insight into pricing models. 
 
Early movers such as StarHub and NTT DoCoMo charge a monthly fee of $32.10 and $10 respectively for femtocells. 
 
China Unicom and SingTel make customers pay for so-called Femtocell Access Points - 1,200 yuan ($177) and S$323 ($233) respectively - in addition to monthly charges. 
 
Then we have the late-comers, namely KDDI and Softbank Mobile, which have turned the early mover business model on its head. 
 
Softbank Mobile launched free femtocell service for up to four 3G users this month.  Next month, KDDI will offer a free femtocell service for its 1xEV-DO users in coverage black-spots.  
 
Free femtocells and improved 3G access in the home or office are very likely going to keep customers and loyal. 
 
Informa estimates that 81% of mobile data originates from homes and offices where it could frequently be offloaded on to local broadband connections. 
 
The problem is, it’s a scale game and it’s hard to see free femtocells being offered by a large number of operators in Asia any time soon until it becomes more affordable to do so. 
 
On the other hand, charging outright high prices for femtocells just doesn’t make sense.

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