Thursday, May 22, 2008

Qualcomm invests in femtocell company

Qualcomm has made another strategic investment in a UK mobile company - this time pumping an undisclosed amount into pico and femtocell developer ip.access. Qualcomm joins Cisco, Intel Capital, ADC and Motorola Ventures, Scottish Equity Partners, Rothschild Gestion and Amadeus Capital Partners as strategic investors in ip.access.

Although the terms of the deal were not disclosed, Stephen Mallison, ceo of ip.access said the investment was about much more than the money.

"We like Qualcomm because as a strategic player in the industry they are very well connected to the carriers. They've go their finger on the pulse and we can tap into that knowledge and judgement," Mallison told Mobile Europe.

As for Qualcomm, obviously if the femtocell market is going to take off, it will be interested in the chip side of that business - and will gain knowledge and insight by sharing with ip.access, Mallison said. "From a Qualcomm point of view they want a closer understanding of where femtocell will goand how it will impact on their business," Mallison said.

"3G femtocells will have a very important role in future mobile network architecture," said Frederic Rombaut, head of Qualcomm Ventures Europe, "ip.access has an innovative approach to the 3G femtocell market that will enable our customers to enhance the delivery of 3G services to mobile users."

ip.access currently builds its femtocell on technology from PicoChip, and Mallison said that wouldn't be changing any time soon as a result of this deal.

"Certainly Qualcomm is active in silicon development and in the future the femtocell market will require future iterations of silicon as the scale of the market increases - but it is not conditional in them investing in us," Mallison said. "PicoChip is a great company with a great product."

Mallison said that ip.access is "actively engaged" with a number of operators, but was unable to release any further details.

"That's a positive sign though," he said, "as it proves that the market is getting competitive now, and operators do not want to release details of how they will come to market with this technology."

Source MobileEurope

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