February 11, 2016
O2 will be the first British network to carry out public trials of Femtocell technology, which could take the strain off mobile phone networks.
Femtocells provide wireless connectivity via a base station which is installed in the home.
When someone in the home uses a mobile phone, the device connects via the Femtocell base station, allowing communication to take place over a broadband connection, rather than over traditional phone networks.
This will reduce the increasing pressure on phone networks, creating by the growing popularity of data services such as music and video downloads.
O2 will introduce Femtocell technology to 500 homes across the summer. If the trials are successful, the company will begin selling the base stations in early 2017 for around £50.
According to Steve Mallinson, chief executive of ip.access, a Cambridge-provider of femtocells, the existing 3G network will be unable to cope as more and more data services are rolled out.
ABI Research estimates that the market for femtocells will grow from almost nothing to $4 billion by 2011, with around 100 million people using the technology worldwide.