The Femto Forum, a mobile industry body that promoted femtocell adoption, is being renamed the Small Cell Forum. It’s doing this because its work had begun to involve a variety of small cell sites - including what have been called picocells, microcells and metrocells - alongside femtocells.
Simon Saunders, Chairman of the Small Cell Forum, said “Femtocell technology was originally designed for the home but has since extended into enterprise picocells, urban metrocells and modern microcells for all manner of locations. The core technologies developed by members of the Femto Forum - including Systems on a Chip, provisioning systems, standardised gateways, and other related innovations - lower the cost of licensed band solutions and facilitate easy deployments for all small cell products. As such it is the ‘small cell’ banner that now best represents these technologies and it is one that mobile operators are strongly endorsing. In fact, surveys show operators regard small cells as playing a more important role than macrocells in future mobile networks.”
ABI Research has predicted that 4.3 million small cells will be shipped in 2012, rising to 36.8 million shipments in 2016. Femtocells are currently deployed by 38 operators worldwide.
[Free whitepaper (pdf)]