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Enterprise Femtocells Gain Majority of the $4.3B Market

The bring your own device (BYOD) to work phenomenon continues to impact IT budgets as demand for better in-office wireless coverage increases with each new wave of mobile business productivity applications.

As an example, Voice over IP (VoIP) and emerging video-based collaboration apps typically create the need for improved Wi-Fi or broadband 3G/4G cell coverage.

Enterprise femtocell deployments will capture 97 percent of the $4.3 billion market revenue in 2019, outpacing consumer-residential femtocells, according to the latest global market study ABI Research.

While femtocells are successful in the consumer market, both mobile network operators and wireless LAN vendors are eager to participate in these lucrative new mobile workplace deployments.

"The femtocell business model becomes clear for small and medium enterprises. The cost of a Distributed Antenna System cannot be justified for these firms, but yet there is an increasing demand for mobile voice services," said Ahmed Ali, research analyst at ABI Research.

Other sources of mobile network service provider revenue driving this transition are value-added services.

Although Enterprise femtocells cost more and deploy in larger numbers, in the long term, device prices are bound to come down. Mobile network operators will look for additional customized services to maintain margins.

Moreover, location-based analytics is one of the most important aspects of future femtocell deployments and provide tailored services for different vertical markets.

The market share of different femtocell access technologies also changes with the rise of multi-mode femtocells. Although 3G femtocells will have the biggest share of femtocell shipments every year, especially in the North America and Asia-Pacific regions, 3G/4G multimode femtocells are taking off.

Top chip and equipment providers pushing towards this approach include Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent, and Broadcom.

In the near-term, multi-mode femtocell shipments will find its biggest market in North America where the fast growing LTE and small cells markets will benefit from the dual access capabilities.

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