In this chapter we establish the basic ‘why, what and how’ for femtocells. All of the issues discussed here are covered in greater depth in later chapters, but this chapter should serve as a rapid introduction to the whole subject.
Mobile phones have been one of the fastest-growing consumer technologies of all time. Digital mobile phones were introduced in the early 1990s, and have now grown to include around 4 billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide – nearly 60% of the world's population. The number is continuing to grow quickly, and is expected to reach 5.63 billion by 2013(1). Mobile phone data traffic is forecast to grow by between 10 and 30 times between 2008 and 2013, depending on the pricing and promotion of these services (2).
In the same period, the Internet has also become a mass-market technology, growing to 1.6 billion users worldwide, nearly 25% of the world's population (3). Internet protocol traffic is forecast to grow by over 10 times in the period from 2006 to 2012 (4).
Since the introduction of third-generation mobile services in the early part of the new millennium, the dream has been to combine mobile and Internet technologies, giving fast, reliable access to the Internet via personal mobile devices. While there have been false starts in achieving this dream, there are now clear signs that demand for Internet services is taking off. In 2007 particularly, ...