Google invests in mobile base station vendor

Google has invested in a maker of femtocells, cellular base stations for homes and offices.

Femtocells, an emerging technology for improving cellular coverage in homes and enterprises, have attracted the interest of none other than Google.

The search giant participated in a US$25 million round of funding for Ubiquisys, a femtocells vendor based in Swindon, U.K. Technology venture funds Accel Partners, Atlas Venture and Advent Venture Partners also invested, Ubiquisys announced Friday.

Femtocells, named for an order of size in physics that is smaller than "pico" or "nano," are cellular base stations for individual homes or offices. Mobile operators hope to sell them to customers who will install them and immediately enjoy better coverage for data and entertainment services. Weak cellular signals indoors, where most high-speed data services are used, have stunted the growth of those lucrative offerings, according to industry analysts.

Google invested in Ubiquisys as part of efforts to help people use the Internet wherever they are, with the richest possible experience, spokesman David-John Collins said.

"It's about promoting different ways and platforms for people to access the Internet itself," Collins said.

Also Friday, the company told the U.S. Federal Communications Commission it would bid at least US$4.6 billion in an upcoming auction of 700MHz wireless spectrum if it imposes certain conditions. They include letting consumers buy any phone, use it on any network, and download any applications, services or content they want. Google also wants the auction winner to have to sell access wholesale to other service providers.

Google's investments in unused optical fiber networks and a free Wi-Fi system for its hometown, plus its planned involvement in a San Francisco Wi-Fi network, have led to theories that it plans to compete with incumbent broadband providers. The company has also invested in Wi-Fi sharing technology vendors Fon Technology SL and Meraki Networks and powerline broadband provider Current Communications Services, Collins said.

Privately held Ubiquisys was founded in 2004 and earlier this year introduced the ZoneGate femtocell system. Many established carrier equipment vendors, including Nokia Siemens Networks, Motorola and Alcatel-Lucent, also are developing and testing femtocell technology. Commercial deployment of the devices is expected to start in earnest next year.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?