Small base stations in the home could cause social breakdown, according to a presentation at Avren Events' Femtocells Europe 2008 event today.

"Seventy-nine percent of people said they would dump their family for a femto cell," said Nick Rickards, a marketing manager at Alcatel-Lucent, reporting what must about the fourth survey of user attitudes to femtos this morning. "No, that must be a typo," he corrected - presumably the survey was talking about substitution of mobiles for fixed family phones.

This year's femto conference is much bigger than last year's, but with, so far, less news. Surveys like Rickards' - and similar ones so far, from AT&T, Motorola and ip.access - are well-meant, but they always turn out to be wrong.

By now, we were expecting to hear about some real end-user trials and roll-outs. Femtocells promise real benefits (cheap backhaul and improved coverage) for which mobile operators would certainly sell their families and more.

So where are the trials? The fact that as yet there are none we can talk about, suggests machinations behind the scenes. The mobile operators may be demanding different things from the vendors (perhaps more integration with other services), or maybe the broadband operators are angling to charge mobile operators for the backhaul which they are hoping femtos will give them for free. Or maybe everyone is just refusing to do anything until femtos are cheap enough.