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Many consumers have already embrace VoIP, using Skype or similar programs instead of a mobile phone to make landline calls at home. Now NEC has unveiled a new technology Femtocell which is designed to deliver 3G mobile services via a standard IP broadband connection into a home.

A Femtocell is a small low-power plug-and-play consumer device that allows localised 3G coverage using a consumer’s broadband connection. When a user gets home, the localised coverage immediately switches on, so they can use their mobile phone to make calls at a cheaper rate.

“Femtocell is a strategy by mobile operators to keep people on their mobile phones,” said NEC’s David Iacovitti. “It has the benefit of extending mobile coverage in the home, and allows users to make cheaper calls using their existing mobile handset.”

“This means consumers will also have the convenience of having the one telephone number,” he added.

The Femtocell solution has already been rolled out with success in Europe, Iacoviit said, and in Australia, is likely to be bundled with a broadband subscription by carriers, perhaps for an additional $20 / month for the service.

NEC Assistant Senior Vice President Yoichi Watanabe said: “The battle to retain a meaningful and profitable relationship with subscribers is heating up, with mobile operators facing competition from new entrants into the market. The company which can deliver customers with the communications services they require and will pay for is the one which will remain visible and relevant.

“As an established provider of mobile infrastructure expertise, NEC recognised that femtocell-based solutions will provide the best platforms for operators who are planning to offer true FMC services to subscribers and we are happy to announce that NEC Corporation has established NEC Europe as the Global Competence Centre for Femtocell”.

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