Qualcomm, ip.access sign femtocell partnership - ip.access

ip.access, manufacturer of femtocell and picocell products, has announced a femtocell deal it has signed with Qualcomm, which will allow it to develop WCDMA residential and enterprise femtocell products that use Qualcomm's Femtocell Station Modem chipset platform.

Femtocells are small base stations that are used in homes or small businesses to create a mobile phone signal where previously there wouldn't be one. It works by plugging a broadband connection into the base station, which then provides a signal utilised by the phone network, effectively extending coverage.

This technology is particularly useful for people in areas where coverage is weak or in buildings where the building design is blocking signal access.

Femtocells are becoming more popular, with many network operators starting to roll the technology out. AT&T completed a national rollout of risdential femtocells in the US in June of this year, which utilises ip.access' Oyster 3G femtocell technology.

“Femtocells and picocells are becoming an important part of today’s 3G networks, and will be increasingly used as part of future network evolutions,” said Stephen Mallinson, CEO of ip.access. “We are now seeing a mature femtocell ecosystem with diversity of supply for all of the key technology components.”

Qualcomm said that its Femtocell Station Modem chipset that ip.access will now be using integrates radio frequency, baseband, network listen, GPS, and a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, which it said reduces the cost of femtocell access points without affecting call quality.

ip.access has already used some of Qualcomm's technology in the past, paying licenses for some of Qualcomm's femtocell patents and plans to continue its partnership with the new femtocell deal.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.