Femto Forum members see eye-to-eye on femtocell architecture

• Association also establishes partnerships with key international standards making groups and industry bodies
• Significantly increases membership to 78, including 29 operators representing more than 810 million subscribers

London, UK – 21st May 2008 – The Femto Forum, the independent industry association that supports femtocell deployment worldwide, has made important progress towards harmonizing the integration of femtocells into mobile networks. Although this won’t affect the numerous deployments planned in the short term, operators and vendors have agreed that a united approach in the longer term is essential.

At its plenary meeting in March, operator members agreed the following principles for interoperability on the so-called Fa interface between Femtocell Access Points and Femto Gateways:

• There shall be a single definition of the Fa interface with specific modules defined for each radio technology to comply with existing standards.
• Building on available technology and recognized industry standards the architecture will deliver the best combination of features.
• A “collapsed” architecture will be adopted where the NodeB/BTS and RNC/BSC functionality will be placed in the Femto Access Point (FAP) to optimize signaling and performance over the broadband connection.
• Interfaces from the Gateway to the core network shall use existing standards.

To aid this drive towards common practices, the forum has been accepted as a Market Representation Partner (MRP) with key industry standards bodies, 3GPP, 3GPP2 and established cooperation agreements with the DSL Forum and the GSMA, in order to ensure that femtocells develop in a way that meets the needs of both mobile and fixed operators, while advising on how existing standards are affected and should evolve. This makes the forum a key advisor on both the CDMA and GSM cellular standards used by 99% of global subscribers, as well as the standards used by 300+ million broadband subscribers worldwide.

“The last 3 months have seen a dramatic change in the femtocell market – it has gone from being a vendor led initiative to being an operator driven reality. With a number of major operators around the world announcing plans to deploy femtocells in the next 12 months it is now very clear that they are in the driving seat,” said Simon Saunders, Chairman of the Femto Forum. “Our operator members have aligned their requirements for integrating femtocells into networks in the longer term, and the result is that the vendors and operators are now working together to establish best practice for interoperable protocols that will be used for the different types of mobile networks.”

In other news the forum also welcomes new members who are already active in the working groups. These include: 2Wire, AirWalk Communications, AT&T, China Telecom, Hay Systems, Juni, mimoOn, Motive Inc., Nortel, Percello, Reliance Communications, SafeNet, SigNav, SK Telecom, Sprint Nextel, Telenor, T-Mobile International, T-Mobile US and Wipro Technologies. Operators now comprise close to 40% of the forum’s membership, and they represent over 810 Million subscribers. The forum’s upcoming plenaries will take place in Europe in June, Asia in September and North America in December.

About The Femto Forum
Femtocells are low-power wireless access points that operate in licensed spectrum to connect standard mobile devices to a mobile operator’s network using residential DSL or cable broadband connections. The Femto Forum (www.femtoforum.org) has been set up to promote the wide-scale adoption of femtocells. The Forum will support and drive the adoption of industry wide standards and common architectures to enable the widespread adoption & deployment of femtocells by operators around the world. It will direct and implement a multi-faceted marketing campaign to raise the profile, drive technology development & deployment and to promote the potential of femto solutions among industry stakeholders, journalists, analysts, regulators, special interest groups, standards bodies and consumers.

Media Contacts

Oliver Chapman
oliver@femtoforum.org
+44 (0)7713 404 571