UK: Femtocell as a Service or FaaS is a new and upcoming wholesale model for deploying femtocells, targeted at mid-lower tier operators by providing a hosted femtocell core network.
The market’s in its initial stages with trials ongoing in North America and Europe, targeting both enterprise and residential femtocells. ABI Research expects the first commercial rollouts using FaaS to happen in 2013, possibly in the first half.
ABI Research’s report on FaaS suggests that 3 million femtocells will be cumulatively deployed by 2018 using FaaS. The majority are expected to deploy in North America with close to 300 regional carriers. ABI expects 10 percent of these regional carriers in North America to use FaaS providers by 2018.
Aditya Kaul, practice director, says: “FaaS is filling an important gap in the femtocell market. Our calculations show the femto core network cost per user for a Tier 1 operator deploying a million femtocells is less than half of what it would be for a lower tier operator targeting a few thousand users. FaaS allows these smaller operators to circumvent that cost barrier allowing them to share a common hosted core network.”
There are currently four providers that are offering FaaS: Colt Telecom and Cloudberry Mobile in Europe, and Cellcom and ClearSky Technologies in North America. The common thread across three of the four providers is NEC, which is providing the end-to-end system capabilities, and is keen to use FaaS as a catalyst for the femtocell market.
Kaul adds: “We see the FaaS model as the first stage in the wholesale delivery of femtocell services, with the second stage focused on Mobility as a Service, especially for the enterprise, where the value proposition goes beyond the box, offering over-the-top applications and services like PBX and location services apart from basic voice and data.”