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Femtocell market rebounds in Q3; Samsung regains No. 1 spot

Thanks to a surge in 3G sales, the femtocell market witnessed a 13% increase during the third quarter, hitting $132.7 million in worldwide sales, according to Infonetics Research. The firm noted 3G femtocells posted a 50% sales increase during the quarter, with consumer, enterprise and public access market segments all posting growth.

“After a minor dip earlier in the year, healthy revenue growth has returned to the femtocell market, where we saw a second consecutive quarter of increases,” explained Richard Webb, directing analyst for microwave, mobile offload and mobile broadband devices at Infonetics Research. “All segments … saw both units and revenue go up, and we remain optimistic that femtocells have sufficient market drivers and support among operators to sustain continuous annual growth through 2016.”

Continued femtocell growth could come along with the rollout of LTE networks as many have noted that the ability to provide increased coverage and capacity using a femtocell goes hand-in-hand with the promise of LTE.

Among femtocell vendors, Samsung regained its position at No. 1, posting a 45% increase in revenues and leading in shipments. Infonetics noted that Samsung last led the category during the final quarter of 2011. Airvana, which was the leading femtocell provider during the second quarter of this year, slid to the No. 2 position during the most recent quarter.

Femtocells are generally regarded as devices designed to provide increased cellular coverage within a home or small office environment. Most femtocells require the customer to provide backhaul capabilities, typically through a wired broadband connection, with the device itself bolstering the wireless operators licensed spectrum signal within its coverage area.

Sales of femtocells have been somewhat muted by carrier pricing models, with many domestic operators charging customers a fixed priced for a device along with a monthly service fee. Those operators typically include some form of unlimited data or calling feature with that fee, but are still forced to justify charging customers for improving a carrier’s wireless network.

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