Qualcomm To Make Femtocell Chips

The chipset will enable device manufacturers to create hardware that increases voice and 3G data reception.
In a move that could make femtocells mainstream, Qualcomm said it has added femtocell chipsets to its product road map.

Femtocells are devices that act as miniature cell phone towers, boosting reception in businesses or homes. Qualcomm said its Femtocell Station Modem chipsets would also enable hardware to be built that increases the reception of 3G data, including HSPA and EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B. It will also have integrated RF capabilities for all the major wireless bands, and will let manufacturers address interference between the femtocells and the larger networks.

"Femtocell technology will enhance the overall experience for end users while operators will benefit from the enhanced capacity femtocells will provide," said Ed Knapp, senior VP of marketing for Qualcomm's Flarion technologies, in a statement. "Qualcomm is combining its industry leadership in silicon integration and power-efficiency with its mobile device and base station chipset experience to now add FSM chipsets to its technology road map."

The mobile operators have been very active on the femtocell front because a lack of cell phone reception, or "dead zones," can be the bane of businesses and home users. With the release of the Airave, Sprint Nextel became the first major U.S. wireless carrier to release commercial cell phone boosting hardware. This could boost reception up to 5,000 square feet, and there is a monthly $4.99 service fee to use it.

Verizon Wireless released a similar product with the Network Extender, but it cuts out the monthly fees in exchange for a higher initial cost. Neither product increases reception of 3G data, but AT&T is prepping its own commercial femtocell that will boost voice and data reception.