Feeds

Big news for small cells

Qualcomm invests in femtocells while Forum agrees standards

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

Qualcomm, the mobile phone technology firm, today announced a "significant" investment in ip.access, the Cambridge, UK-based femtocell specialist, on the same day the Femto Forum unveiled more members and an agreed standard process.

ip.access already counts Cisco as an investor, but the arrival of Qualcomm marks a big step in the development of the femtocell industry. Qualcomm has demonstrated femtocells as home-hubs, replacing Wi-Fi networks for routing multimedia content around the home as well, as linking to the mobile phone network.

This fits well with Qualcomm's operator-friendly approach. In the past the operator's best friends have always been the handset manufacturers: the latter create features from which the former can extract revenue. But they have been falling out over services, since Apple changed the rules with the iPhone. Many operators are looking for new best friends.

With last week's purchase of the UK's L-Band spectrum Qualcomm can offer mobile operators their own-brand mobile TV service: O2 and the BBC have already expressed an interest in this, the FT reports. Using femtocells, operators can offer data-intensive applications with less load on their network.

It's worth noting that Qualcomm runs the Whispernet service used by Amazon to update its electronic book, the Kindle: this is the kind of application that mobile operators want to see more of.

Trials of femtocells to date have focused on extending coverage into the home: the Femto Forum sees particular value for WiMAX networks operating at 2.6GHz, where building-penetration will be worse than today's 3G networks. But in Europe the push will be more data-centric, offering fast access to data services and multimedia content.

The 'Forum today announced it is up to 78 members, 29 of which are network operators with 810 million customers between them. The rise in network operator membership is reflected in a renewed focus on standards, to ensure that femtocells are interoperable between networks and integrated with the minimum of disruption to the core network.

Details of the femtocell standards are still under discussion, and are yet to be presented to the 3GPP and other appropriate bodies. But the agreement is significant as today's femtocells are very proprietary.

And operators are keen: they are desperate to find new revenue sources, and femtocells are an effective way to remain in control of the distribution network. Qualcomm isn't saying how much it has invested in ip.access, but any investment shows a commitment to the technology and the opportunity for Qualcomm to show operators how to make money from very small cells. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.