Telstra dismisses consumer femtocells - Mobile World Live

Telstra dismisses consumer femtocells

13 FEB 2011

Australia’s largest operator Telstra has nixed the idea of using consumer femtocells as a way of coping with any future ‘capacity crunch,’ despite the fact it is having to cope with a doubling in data usage on its mobile network every 12 months.

Speaking to the Show Daily ahead of his appearance on the ‘Network Breaking Point’ session Tuesday afternoon, Telstra CTO Hugh Bradlow claims that the coverage of its Next G network (based on HSPA+ technology) is such that Telstra does not see the need to use user-installed femtocells to fill in gaps. “Furthermore our modelling has shown that the economics of capacity offload capability of user-installed femtocells is questionable,” commented Bradlow. “Laptops and tablets generate by far the highest data load per device and most of these devices are already offloading onto WiFi.”

Bradlow does not dismiss the role of the ‘operator-installed femtocell’ though, adding that – along with repeater and microcell solutions – these femtocells have potential to provide “an economic, localised coverage capability as part of a managed network design and rollout.”

In recent years Telstra has been something of a pioneer in the deployment of high-speed data networks. In December 2008 it became the first operator to activate HSPA+ technology on a live network and exactly a year later followed that up by launching the industry’s first Dual Channel-HSPA+ network. 

It is yet to finalise its deployment plans of commercial LTE technology, instead focusing on trials while spectrum issues are resolved. Indeed, Telstra is busy lobbying for the auction of spectrum in the 2.6GHz and ‘digital dividend’ 700MHz bands. Bradlow is keen to stress that, while LTE technology will help operators manage the increasing data traffic on mobile networks, it is not in itself a panacea. “While it increases spectral efficiency it does not do so by more than a few 10’s of percentage points,” he warns. “Dealing with mobile network capacity and performance will require governments to continue to release new spectrum on an ongoing basis for many years into the future.”


Mobile World Live

Mobile World Live is the online service dedicated to providing the mobile industry with daily news coverage & analysis of the biggest global market developments.

Read more