T-Mobile has invested in the UK-based femtocell manufacturer Ubiquisys.
Ubiquisys is one of the main promoters of the mobile technology and has already received funding from companies such as Google. It counts Nokia Siemens Networks, NEC and Netgear as partners. On Monday, T-Mobile Venture Fund — part of the operator's venture-capital wing — announced that it too would be putting an unspecified amount of money into Ubiquisys.
Femtocells are mini base stations for the home or small office. They route 3G and GSM cellular calls onto a fixed DSL connection, thus improving indoor coverage while taking the strain off the operator's networks. This can also potentially result in cost savings for the user.
"Femtocells are fundamental to the future of mobile," said Axel Kolb, a fund manager at T-Mobile Venture Fund, on Monday. "They solve the coverage dilemma whilst lowering costs for operators and consumers alike. They pave the way for new mobile services that put the mobile phone at the centre of the connected home, and allow operators to offer improved fixed broadband and mobile bundles."
Chris Gilbert, the chief executive of Ubiquisys, said on Monday that femtocells offer mobile operators "a completely new method for deploying new network technologies". "We are delighted to have the support of one of the industry's most prominent venture groups, a company that shares our view of how femtocells can revolutionise the mobile experience," he added.
Several operators, including T-Mobile, O2 and Vodafone, are reportedly trialling femtocell technology with a view to launching it commercially by the end of this year.