Is mobile phone femtocell technology being trialled in UK by Orange?

by Sniffer | posted on 17 October 2007

Overheard at the Symbian show, was a prominent company director who has been complaining about 3G coverage in his Home Counties pad for as long as Orange has had 3G. He was bragging that his problems had been solved.


"I know this consultant," he proudly announced in one of those football-field PA voices which so many American VPs seem to use (in case we can't all hear) "who's part of the testing rollout. I got him a big contract, and in exchange, he's just got me onto the 70-home trial Orange is doing."

It appears this VP is one of a long list of victims of NIMBY* local authorities who have simply stopped approving planning permission for new 3G masts, because they risk making the property values of senior directors drop. At a time when mortgages are going up, bonuses coming down, and house prices looking fragile, this is seen as a bad way of getting re-elected.

Your avid Sniffer asked one or two other operators if this meant they were being "left behind" in the femto race. "Oh, no, no!" said the Hunkymouse's contacts, shocked. "So are you able to announce that you're doing trials?"

"Oh, no, no no!" they chorused.

Apparently, they're terrified of seeing their project manager for femto get intimidated by the thousands of senior staff working for mobile operators in the posh commuter belt around London.

"Just imagine if all the senior T-Mobile people got wind of our trials," shuddered one. "Or even worse, if our own VPs heard there were working femtocells! They'd be the worst possible test subjects... always moaning about things, shouting if the service goes down for even one minute. No, keep this under your hat, please!"

Sorry, Lionel...

* Not In My Back Yard

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