Why Telstra won’t use the F word

Hugh Bradlow, Telstra’s CTO, says that Femtocells are used by operators who want customers to pay to pick up the gaps in their networks. I wonder if he had anyone in mind.

Optus has been trialling Femtocells this year, and Vodafone UK sells units for £50. It’s a technology that allows people to ensure better coverage in their home and workplace.

Yet Bradlow isn’t a big fan. He says that they can cause black spots for other users, and he would prefer to manage growth with smaller base stations working as part of a coordinated macro network.

Will it be enough, though? He admits, in this edition of Twisted Wire, that technology is taking us on a linear path, yet demand is growing exponentially. The difference, he says, needs to be dealt with through traffic-control techniques, which I think is telco speak for using price to slow usage.

Others argue that tools like Femtocells will enable more traffic to be transferred onto fixed networks. Data from Cisco shows that 40 per cent of mobile data is consumed at home, and a further 25 per cent at work. Only one third is used on the move. Isn’t that a huge opportunity to offload some of that traffic?

First published on ZDNet

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