Just over Half of US Consumers Interested in Femtocells - Survey

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Femtocells appeal to the majority of US broadband householders with mobile phones and that there is a willingness to pay for the devices and associated new services concludes a report commissioned by the Femto Forum.

The report found that 56% of respondents found femtocells appealing once they were described - of these, two thirds found the technology either "very" or "extremely" appealing. The 56% who found femtocells appealing greatly outnumbers the 21% who were neutral-to-negative on their indoor coverage, suggesting that femtocells' appeal extends far beyond the coverage-challenged.

Although only 10% were already familiar with femtocells, 89% of this group were keen to have a femtocell, suggesting that interest will increase as femtocells become more widely understood. Demand was highest amongst heavy Wi-Fi users on cell phones - 84% of these found femtocells appealing.

Consumers were most interested in the technology for improved in-home coverage. Secondary benefits include better handset battery life, faster mobile broadband, advanced femtocell services and home-zone calling tariffs. 72% of consumers who found femtocells appealing were very interested in at least one advanced femtocell service - such as a Virtual Home Number, which rings every cell phone in the home. Half of these were willing to pay $4.99/month for their single favorite service or $9.99/month for a bundle of their favorite three.

Among consumers who consider themselves likely to change operator in the next 12 months, 44% said that they would very likely reconsider if offered a femtocell. Similarly, 35% of consumers in multi-operator households said they would likely consolidate their services around a single provider who offered a femtocell.

"The clear message from this whitepaper is that consumers want femtocells and operators have every reason to provide them. Consumers receive great indoor coverage and new services while operators can increase revenues and reduce churn," said Harry Wang, Director of Mobile Product Research, Parks Associates. "That said, for operators to be really successful they need to build business models based on market share gains and new service revenues, not simply charging for the device."

"Evidently femtocells meet a clear market demand and that is not simply about improving indoor coverage. This research demonstrates that consumers are also excited about advanced femtocell services," said Simon Saunders, The Femto Forum's Chairman. "This opens up new vistas for operators as they assess how best to monetise the new technology. We've known for some time that femtocells can help alleviate growing operator costs but evidently they can also supply new revenues in interesting and unexpected ways."

Methodology

U.S. Consumer Attitudes on In-Home Mobile Services and Femtocells surveyed 1,100 mobile consumers in the U.S. over a 2-week span in May 2010. All respondents were 18 or over and had an equal or greater share in household decisions. The Femto Forum commissioned Parks Associates to conduct this custom consumer research in the U.S. as the first phase of a multi-national project.

 

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