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Demand for In-Building 3G Wireless Systems

The most productive times, when communications are critical, are often spent indoors. This reality, as well as increasing usage of 3G wireless data services, is creating a growing demand for better in-building wireless coverage, according to a report from ABI Research.

ABI's estimates that more than 180,000 buildings will utilize in-building wireless systems by 2011.

According to principal analyst Dan Shey, "The combination of supply-side enablers -- 3G networks, handsets with advanced capabilities, mobile applications -- with a strong customer need means operators will be focused on establishing a coverage footprint inside buildings to retain customers who are using mobile data services. We expect this market to show a compound annual growth rate of nearly 20 percent by 2011."

Until now, carriers have focused on extending coverage from the macro network into buildings, but with 3G networks, that approach will have limited results for customers using data services that demand higher kilobit rates on a per-customer basis.

"Traditional DAS and repeater systems will still play a major role in establishing indoor coverage," says Shey, "but look for femtocells and picocells to play an increasingly important role, not only supplementing current in-building systems but also replacing them."

Immediate activity in the market for in-building wireless systems will occur in North America, Europe, and other regions worldwide with an established and growing 3G footprint. However operators with 2G networks should be considering in-building wireless systems as well.

According to Shey, “Operators with 2G networks have an opportunity to learn from 3G operators and their in-building wireless deployments. In fact, any 2G operator with a 3G roadmap should ensure that it also include resources dedicated to in-building wireless deployments. Such a roadmap will maximize uptake of 3G services providing a faster return on their future 3G network investment."

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