Simon Saunders and Stuart Carlaw (Section 11.7)
The advent of femtocells enables more than simply access to the same services as in the macrocell network, supplied more cheaply and efficiently. It also permits new ways by which mobile-based services can be delivered, via different constellations of operators and vendors. It further enables the services delivered to extend beyond those which could be delivered by the macrocell network alone. This chapter explores some of these new possibilities. While many are at their early stages and are not yet seen in the marketplace, all are based on a desire to explore the boundaries of femtocell enablement and the need to ensure that femtocell equipment, software and standards developers are thinking through the full range of potential requirements.
Given that femtocells necessarily operate in licensed spectrum, it should be clear that mobile operators – or at least those holding licences for spectrum permitting mobile use – form an essential component of any delivery of a femtocell service.
Yet that requirement still allows a wide variety of possible delivery approaches. These range from fully vertically integrated approaches, where all functions are fulfilled by a single operator, through to cases where all of the elements of service are ‘unbundled’ and the spectrum is held by a spectrum broker.
These distinct cases are characterised ...