Sunday, 3 March 2013

Vodafone's spectacular test of the Femtocell market

There's been a lot of hype about femtocells, and most of the UK mobile network operators have made at least a half-hearted effort to offer them. However, there's been little hard evidence of strong demand for femtocells in the UK. It seems that most of my friends don't even know that they exist. Many of the people who've tried them have had (if the bulletin boards are to be believed) unsatisfactory experiences. One could be excused for doubting the strength of public desire for the things.

But when in late February, Vodafone UK suffered delays in fulfilling orders for its Sure Signal femtocell product, it had the effect of testing the strength of the UK femtocell market.

The test proved the market to be surprisingly strong. 

People who (like me) wanted to buy a Sure Signal 3 femtocell in late February tried the online purchase route, to find that they were out of stock. They tried the shops, and found that they were out of stock. So they turned to eBay. 

Here's a chart of what happened. The blue lozenges and trend line show the purchase price, the green triangles and trend line show the number of sales per day, and the red line shows the list price.
As the nation's stock of second-hand femtocells depleted, sales volumes decreased and prices increased well beyond Vodafone's list price. The highest individual sale price (£170) was nearly twice the list price. 

People in the UK do want femtocells, they want them quite badly, and they're prepared to shell out several hours’ worth of their wages to get them. Why didn't I buy a boxfull when they were cheap?

1 comment:

Clive Tomlinson said...

More on this here:

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