The Next Generation Mobile Network (NGMN) forum has had a busy week, announcing its second collaboration in as many days. On Thursday, the carrier forum announced a partnership with another busy group, the Femto Forum, to develop architectures for next generation mobile broadband networks based on WiMAX and LTE.

The two bodies will work together to ensure that next generation mobile networks can incorporate femtocells in the initial network rollout phase, rather than integrating the technology afterwards.

The organisations claims this will enable mobile operators to use femtocells to manage the cost of rollouts, plan spectrum use and ensure optimum coverage and capacity precisely where it is needed.

On the agenda will be collaboration to establish clear performance targets, fundamental recommendations and deployment scenarios for next generation mobile broadband networks.

Speaking to at the WiMAX Forum Global Congress in Amsterdam earlier this month, Femto Forum chairman, Simon Saunders, noted that, “The big build programs have yet to arrive in the WiMAX industry, which puts operators in an ideal position for considering how to factor in the benefits femtocells ahead of deployment time.”

The Forum chairman said that femtocells are seen as being focused on domestic implementations, but he argues that WiMAX has a lot to offer businesses too, which in turn generates an opportunity for femtos where wifi doesn’t offer the necessary quality of service.

“Because the majority of WiMAX deployments are in the 2.5GHz to 5.8GHz bands, they will require extra infrastructure needed to provide good in building coverage, but femtocells could help alleviate that pressure,” said Saunders, noting that a lot of newcomers, or second operators in any given territory are interested in WiMAX and in femtocells.

Peter Meissner, operating officer of the NGMN Alliance, said: “Adding femtocells to existing cellular networks provides operators with numerous benefits, but rolling out a completely new mobile technology designed to include femtocells introduces fundamental and powerful advantages.”