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11/5/2007
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Motorola Tests 3G Femtocell Technology In Europe

The small base stations are designed for use in homes and offices to help spread cellular coverage inside buildings.

Motorola on Monday announced that it has completed the testing of its 3G femtocell technology and has moved on to a trial with a major European carrier.

The femtocell technology being trailed is based on open standards and includes customer premises equipment, 3G devices, a core network concentrator, systems integration services, and Motorola's customer premises equipment management software, called Netopia Broadband Server.

Motorola didn't disclose the name of the European carrier that is testing its femtocell technology.

Femtocells are small base stations designed for use in homes and offices to help spread cellular coverage inside buildings. They will attract more than 100 million users in the next five years, according to ABI Research.

Consumers benefit from the technology by being able to keep a phone call or an Internet session going as they transition from wireless networks inside their homes to outside networks. The switch is seamless when they use their 3G-enabled mobile devices, according to Motorola.

Potentially, the use of femtocells can improve indoor wireless coverage and help reduce "in-home" call charges on mobile devices.

Motorola is part of the Femto Forum, a nonprofit organization founded in 2007 to promote the deployment of femtocells worldwide.

Earlier this year, U.S. wireless carrier Sprint launched a trial in Denver and Indianapolis to test femtocell hardware and service called Airave, which is designed to provide subscribers with enhanced cellular coverage in their homes and home offices. The technology works similarly to T-Mobile's HotSpot @Home service. However, instead of using Wi-Fi to extend coverage, Airave uses femtocells.

Carriers are expected to install femtocells to make their networks more efficient and to provide better cellular coverage indoors. Traffic will be routed using the Internet Protocol, which means carriers will be able to offer additional services like voice over IP and IPTV to their subscribers.

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