It feels like we've been talking about low-power indoor base stations for ever, but how old is the word?
Dean Bubley, who's been talking about femtocells longer than most, asked the question at started a discussion at Disruptive Wireless. He remembers saying the word in November 2005, and I first put it in a headline in September 2006, both of which are far more recent than I expected.
Discussion on Dean's post traces the idea back to 2002 at some Motorola skunkworks, but can't push the word back further than 2005. The wikipedia page on femtocells, was created in November 2006 as a new word for an "access point base station".
I first heard it from Ubiquisys, but Rupert Baines of picoChip (which got the domain) points out, it's a fairly obvious next step from picocell, which were a common term in 2004 - particularly for Wi-Fi in planes.
But what happened to microcells and nanocells?