Vodafone UK’s femtocell launch in July appeared to be a significant breakthrough for the technology in Europe. The timing of the move by such a large operator took many in the industry by surprise, and some vendors have spoken of a significant rise in activity since the launch.
The past year has been particularly challenging for Europe’s mobile operators, in light of the economic downturn and the growing impact of regulatory measures. These factors and heightened competition in the industry have caused operators to focus on costs and operational efficiency.
The EU’s official ratification of the updated GSM Directive is good news for operators across the region. The move means that governments will now be obliged to allow them to use 2G spectrum to roll out 3G and other high-speed technologies in the 900MHz band.
There have been indications over the last year that Europe’s mobile VoIP market is starting to open up. A few operators have struck or broadened partnerships with mobile VoIP providers, some of which have themselves noted a change in attitude to their presence in the market.
There has been a notable rise in announcements on mobile termination rates at an EU and local level in recent months, reflecting increased pressure for member states to reduce rates.
The next six months could prove crucial for shaping future mobile broadband rollouts in Europe, with a number of key spectrum decisions and tenders on the horizon. These developments involve UMTS900, 2.6GHz spectrum and frequencies released by the digital switchover.