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Samsung, Cisco/ip.access lead nascent femtocell market, set to hit $300M in 2011

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The total femtocell revenue grew 45% during the past 4 quarters (from 1Q10 to 1Q11), according to a study by Infonetics Research. Sequentially, worldwide femtocell units sold increased 3% while revenue decreased 3% in 1Q11 from 4Q10, as the market strives toward sub $100 unit pricing and prices continue to erode.

"At this early stage of femtocell market development, Samsung and Cisco/ip.access are neck-and-neck at the top of the femtocell revenue market share leaderboard, with Samsung edging ahead overall by a very slim margin due to its higher-priced CDMA2000 femtocells and contract with Verizon Wireless, while the combined Cisco/ip.access 3G femtocell solution leads the 3G segment based on its selection for the AT&T deployment in North America, currently the largest in the world. Other notable vendor successes: Alcatel-Lucent, which has gained traction through its engagement with Vodafone, a prolific purveyor of femtocell services across its properties; the NEC/Ubiquisys solution, which has had wins with SFR, Network Norway and MegaFon amongst others; and Airvana, which has been selected by Sprint and KDDi. The femtocell vendor scene is highly dynamic, buoyed by product innovation, customer trials and wins, and the scaling up of shipments. There is still everything to play for," notes Richard Webb, directing analyst for WiMAX, microwave, and mobile devices at Infonetics Research.

China Unicom, CSL, Network Norway, Optimus, and SFR all launched commercial femtocell services in 2010, but the majority of 3G operators are still either trialing femtocells or postponing commercial femtocell launches until later in 2011.

Infonetics expects the global femtocell market to grow 31% in 2011 over 2010 to $300 million; the market will not gain mass-scale traction until at least 2012.

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