Mobile

Femtocell maker Ubiquisys lands $5M to improve cellular reception

Ubiquisys, a company known for its femtocell devices which extend 3G cellular networks using existing Internet connections, announced today that it has raised another $5 million in funding.

The devices reduce cellular connectivity headaches for customers in areas with low reception, and also offer carriers a way to offload data from their networks. Ubiquisys primarily licenses its Femto-Engine software to cellular operators and device manufacturers to bring out femtocell devices of their own. One key aspect of the company’s femtocell technology is that it eliminates interference issues with other femtocell devices and cellular networks — a boon for carriers, who are always on the lookout to prevent reception conflicts.

Ubiquisys already has partnerships with Asian device makers who’ve developed femtocells below $100. That price point, in theory, should allow operators to supply them to customers for free, reaping the savings from lowered spending on infrastructure and fewer customer defections.

The company hopes to use the funding to expand its presence worldwide, particularly in the US. Ubiquisys has recently seen major deployments of its technology in France and Japan.

If cellular providers can’t keep up with the onslaught of new subscribers, a problem that’s been plaguing AT&T since the launch of the iPhone, free femtocells are going to become increasingly important. AT&T currently offers a femtocell device for $150, but it seems like a tough sell to force beleaguered subscribers to fork up even more money on top of their expensive subscriptions.

With this latest funding, Swindon, U.K.-based Ubiquisys has raised a total of $53 million. This most recent round saw first-time involvement by SerComm Corporation, UMC Capital Corporation and Pacific Venture Partners. Returning investors included Advent Venture Partners, Accel Partners and Atlas Venture.

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