Last week I discussed femtocells and how I believe the carriers are ripping the consumer off by making them pay more for quality service that should have been delivered in the first place.
This week, as promised, I want to tell you why you might end up accepting the additional wireless charges in exchange for better cellular service at home.
So, without further ado, here are the benefits of femtocell technology:
Number 1: Better coverage indoors.
Femtocells have an indoor range of somewhere between 150 to 600 feet. This should allow a cell phone caller to use a handset anywhere in the house without having to search for the location that gives the clearest reception.
Number 2: Faster data rates.
Because a user is not sharing a cell tower with thousands of others, femtocells will give users close to full, peak performance. The kind of performance you could only expect if you were the only one using a particular base station and you were standing right below the tower.
If you were getting 7Mbps with a high speed data service, it’s yours, no sharing required.
Number 3: Improved multimedia.
Why, if you were at home (where the femtocell operates), you would want to watch a movie on your cell phone screen or a sporting event for the life of me I don’t know, but if you did, then obviously the high data rates will give you a great multimedia experience.
Number 4: A single device to manage. For those with a hand held and a cell phone handset, the improved capabilities available with the femtocell will give users the opportunity to 86 the handheld in favor of the handset. It might even allow you to drop wire line service altogether.
Femtocells are also compatible with VoIP.
Number 5: Cell phone as home gateway. Femtocell proponents say you can download your music, pictures and video automatically to your PC from your cell phone the moment you walk back into the house.
Number 6: In order to entice users, the carriers are offering free voice minutes when the femtocell is being used. So, in addition to free evenings and weekends that you probably already have, this will give you free usage at other times while at home.
A few caveats.
Each femtocell, at least for now, is enabled for only one cell phone service -- no swapping SIMS here, thank you. So, if your household members have various plans with different providers, forget about it. One femtocell per provider.
The wireless carriers see femtocells as a way back into the fight for the all important fight over who owns the customer at home. This market is critical to their growth. So you can expect more and more services embedded along with the femtocell.
You will probably also see femtocell technology embedded in other devices, like TVs, set top boxes, etc. as a way to compete with cable, Wi-Fi, and WiMax.
Google, among others have already made investments in femtocell companies so whether you like the idea or not, don’t dismiss it out of hand. We’ll be hearing a lot more about femtocells this year and next.