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Femtocells: Opportunities and Challenges for Business and Technology by Rasa Siegberg, V. Srinivasa Rao, Ravi Rai Bhat, Andrea Giustina, Stuart Carlaw

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9

Femtocell Regulation

Simon Saunders

9.1 Introduction

Regulation can play a key role in enabling or retarding any given industry. In broad concept for regulators, femtocells are nothing new, operating using existing over-the-air standards and user devices and offering services which are broadly familiar. As a result, it is expected that regulations in most countries, which already permit mobile services, will allow femtocell deployment with relatively little change. However, the deployment model for femtocells is sufficiently different to raise questions for some regulators and to require changes to some regulations to allow a broad range of business models to be supported. Sometimes simple uncertainty regarding the status of regulation can be enough to put operators off deploying a new technology, or discourage vendors from developing it, so it is vital to ensure that regulators understand the immediate nature of femtocell deployments, adapt regulation where required in a timely fashion and communicate the outcomes and implications clearly.

9.2 Regulatory Benefits of Femtocells

Before regulators can adapt or clarify regulations, they need to understand how femtocells will support their own regulatory goals. The specifics of such goals vary according to the regulator, but they would typically include a selection of the following:

  • spectrum efficiency;
  • economic efficiency;
  • enabling competition;
  • broadening access to services;
  • enabling innovation;
  • promoting competition;
  • environmental ...

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