Qualcomm invests in femtocell maker ip.access

Femtocell and picocell maker ip.access received a financial boost from Qualcomm. The company joined existing investors Cisco, Intel Capital, ADC, Motorola Ventures, Scottish Equity Partners, Rothschild Gestion and Amadeus Capital Partners to fund ip.access' Oyster 3G femtocell system, which uses the residential broadband connection to deliver a 3G signal in the home. ip.access is rumored to have inked a femtocell deal with AT&T.

This move by one of the technology giants in the wireless industry is being seen as validating the concept as well as ramping up the competitive stakes. "Having [Qualcomm's] weight behind us and behind femtocells is good," Andy Tiller, VP of marketing at ip.access, told sister publication FierceWireless Europe. "It's beginning to look like this market is about scale. We need big friends in that kind of market, and Qualcomm is one of those friends."

Ovum analyst Jeremy Green says that while Ovum is still somewhat skeptical about the femtocell business case, Qualcomm's decision to invest in ip.access gives the femtocell proposition more credibility.  

This is the second big European announcement from Qualcomm this week. On Monday, the firm announced it was purchasing a 40 MHz chunk of L-band spectrum, prompting speculation that it was planning to use it to deliver mobile TV service.

For more:
- see this press release

Related stories:
Qualcomm wins U.K. spectrum but coy about plans. See this story about Qualcomm's spectrum win
T-Mobile invests in femtocell maker. Read this T-Mobile femtocell article
Rumor: ip.access wins femtocell deal with AT&T. See this article on ip.access and AT&T