May 21, 2008 / 8:02 AM / 11 years ago

Qualcomm takes stake in femtocell firm ip.access

PARIS, May 21 (Reuters) - Wireless technology company Qualcomm (QCOM.O) has taken a stake in ip.access, a British firm that makes indoor base stations for third-generation mobile phone networks known as femtocells.

Ip.access said on Wednesday the deal was made through Qualcomm’s European investment fund, but did not give financial details.

Existing investors include Cisco (CSCO.O), Intel (INTC.O) Capital, Motorola MOT.N Ventures, Scottish Equity Partners, Rothschild Gestion and Amadeus Capital Partners, ip.access said.

A number of telecoms carriers are evaluating femtocells, meant to improve indoor coverage at a substantially lower cost than adding mobile signal masts.

The devices are plugged into a customer’s broadband Internet connection, like a wireless Internet base station, and allow users to make calls or use data services with their regular mobile phones.

For mobile operators that acquired broadband Internet assets, femtocells are an opportunity to offer a bundle that includes cheap calls while consumers are at home. Deutsche Telekom AG’s (DTEGn.DE) T-Mobile Venture Fund this year made a strategic investment in femtocell company Ubiquisys, and Britain’s Vodafone (VOD.L) and Telefonica O2 (TEF.MC) are among the operators to conduct trials of the technology. (Reporting by Niclas Mika; editing by David Hulmes)

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