updated 04:35 pm EDT, Fri March 25, 2011
Aggressive pricing cited as helping boost numbers
Sprint has announced that its Airave femtocells have been distributed to more than 250,000 customers across the nation. The company's vice president of network development and engineering, Iyad Tarazi, suggests the number is expected to climb to approximately 1 million over the next few years, according to comments made at the FierceWireless Path to 4G conference.
When compared with the Femto Forum's suggestion that nationwide femtocell distribution on all carriers has only reached 350,000 units, Sprint appears to account for the majority of current users. Despite the seemingly lackluster numbers, Femto Forum chairman Simon Saunders suggests the personal devices already surpass the number of cell towers in the US.
Sprint's aggressive pricing has been credited with helping boost the company's femtocell distribution well past that of its competitors. The Airive typically sells for $100 and sets customers back another $5/month for service, however many customers have received free femtocells without service fees if they live in fringe areas.