The global femtocell market, which includes 2G, 3G and 4G femtocells, has grown for the third straight quarter, according to a research firm.
Infonetics Research has announced that the market grew by 66 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, while for the whole of last year sales totalled €327 million, up 21 percent on 2011.
4G femtocell revenue is growing at a five-year compound annual growth rate of 165 percent.
However, Richard Webb, directing analyst for microwave and carrier Wi-Fi at Infonetics Research, said the growth was “modest for a market that's still in evolution".
He added: "Price-per-unit is eroding and shipment volumes are rising, but both are intrinsically linked and neither has happened fast enough to drive a more rapid acceleration in adoption to date."
"That said, we believe femtocells have sufficient market drivers and support among operators to sustain continuous annual revenue and unit growth through at least 2017, starting with a very big 2013, driven by strong 3G femto sales and fast-ramping 4G femtos.”
While consumer femtocells made up the bulk of units shipped, public access femtocells brought in the most revenue.
Despite the fact that only three percent of units shipped in 2012 were integrated femtocells, i.e. femtocell technology built into broadband CPE like DSL routers or gateways, Infonetics anticipates that they will be widely adopted over the long term, eventually making up about half of all units by 2017.
The top three femtocell market share leaders in the fourth quarter of 2012 and for the whole of 2012 are Airvana, Samsung and Cisco / ip.access.