Google buys into UK femtocell company

Google buys into UK femtocell company

Summary: Web giant invests an undisclosed amount in the British company Ubiquisys, which makes equipment for improving cellular coverage indoors

TOPICS: Networking

Google has invested an undisclosed amount in the British femtocell maker Ubiquisys.

Femtocells are mini-base stations that can be installed in homes or offices to boost a user's cellular signal. When in range of the femtocell, the user's handset routes a call to the connected IP network rather than the standard network, thus providing enhanced coverage indoors or underground — where 3G/GSM coverage is traditionally poor — and sometimes lowering call costs.

Ubiquisys recently announced a deal with Netgear to integrate femtocell functionality into some of Netgear's routers.

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According to Ubiquisys co-founder Will Franks, the round of investment announced on Friday totals $25m (£12m), but Franks declined to specify how much Google had invested.

"What [Google] want to do is get broadband internet access to all users," said Franks. "They see femtocell technology as a very good way of doing that for mobile phones, so they are investing in companies, like us, who do that." He also pointed out that Google had made a similar investment in the "Wi-Fi community" company FON.

Franks said he could not divulge any details but he did say that "a number of mobile operator groups" were currently testing femtocell technology.

Topic: Networking

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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