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Femto Forum and NGMNA collaborate on 'new approach' to next generation network rollout

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The Femto Forum, the independent industry association that supports femtocell deployment worldwide, and the NGMN Alliance, the group focused on the evolution to the next generation of mobile networks, will cooperate on how femtocells can benefit the architecture of next-generation mobile broadband networks such as WiMAX and LTE.

The two bodies say they will work together to ensure that next generation mobile networks can incorporate femtocells from the very beginning of their deployment rather than integrating the technology afterwards. This is expected to enable mobile operators to use femtocells to manage the cost of rollouts, plan spectrum use and ensure optimum coverage and capacity precisely where it is needed.  The two bodies say they will be involved in establishing clear performance targets, fundamental recommendations and deployment scenarios for next generation mobile broadband networks incorporating femtocells and to help ensure that cost/performance ratios are optimised.

"Adding femtocells to existing cellular networks provides operators with numerous benefits, but rolling out a completely new mobile technology designed to include femtocells introduces fundamental and powerful advantages," said Dr. Peter Meissner, Operating Officer of the NGMN Alliance. "The partnership between the Femto Forum and the NGMN Alliance will offer operators a completely different approach to network rollout than exists today."

"Femtocells can transform how next generation mobile networks can be deployed. For example, femtocells could be employed using higher frequencies to deliver targeted intense high bandwidth requirements inside buildings - exactly where subscribers need it. This is expected to enable operators to use the scarce lower frequency spectrum to provide good quality coverage across entire markets with the minimum number of macro network cells" said Prof. Simon Saunders, Chairman of the Femto Forum "The range of possibilities opened up by femtocells is extensive and this agreement will help ensure that the most can be made of the opportunity."

The NGMN Alliance recommendations include a clear requirement for a cost-optimised indoor node design. It also includes requirements for self-organising networks with automated self-optimising and self-configuring functionality.  Femtocells are the first example of a self-organising network and therefore meet both these requirements. The two bodies will work together to define technology requirements, and make recommendations which will then be converted into solutions to be developed within the Femto Forum and promoted jointly.