US chipmaker Qualcomm, the owner of the Meiaflo alternative mobile TV platform, has joined Cisco Systems, Intel and Motorola by taking a stake in Ip.access, a UK-based pioneer of femtocells. Femtocells are routers that connect directly to 3G mobile phones. Ip.access, which is based in Cambridge, is developing the technology to allow operators to create 3G “hotspots” in their customers' homes.
Many mobiles contain 3G radio and WiFi, so femtocells can allow operators to improve indoor coverage and redirect traffic from their own networks to customers' fixed-line broadband connections. Ip.access did not reveal the size of Qualcomm's “strategic investment”.
Before full deployment, operators must ensure that the devices do not interfere with wider 3G networks, as well as being easy for customers to set up and for carriers to manage remotely.