Fast Times for Femtocells
These are busy times for the femtocell industry.There are now 13 operators who have launched service, including 3 out of 3 in Japan and 3 out of 4 in USA.
Next week is the Femto World Summit and I’m expecting other carriers to announce their launches too, so the number is accelerating. But there is still plenty of controversy & confusion around pricing plans for femtocells.
At one extreme, Softbank are offering completely free femtocells, with no up-front or monthly cost. Other carriers are looking to charge quite high fees, e.g. Verizon.
But the most controversial this week is AT&T's decision to cap data plan. That may make sense on the macro network, but it is rather peculiar on your own Femto, using your own broadband that you are already paying for. It seems that even the “unlimited” plan is, actually, limited. Or rather, it is unlimited for voice but the cap for data still applies.
Gig Om opines on this and is very unhappy:http://gigaom.com/2010/06/17/att-data-plans-biggest-losers-femtocell-users/
And the same applies in the UK, with an irritated Vodafone customer:http://www.theequitykicker.com/2010/06/18/vodafones-femtocell-pricing-is-wrong/
Personally, I would think that they are right: the data should be unlimited – certainly if you pay extra for the unlimited plan.