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back to article UK tiny-phone-mast biz Ubiquisys wolfs down $19m pie

Ubiquisys, the Swindon-based company responsible for the tiniest of mobile base stations, has raised another $19m in VC cash, bringing the total to almost $86m. That money hasn't arrived all in one go - Ubiquisys started spending other peoples' money with a cash injection of $12m back in 2006, followed by $25m a year later and …

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Anonymous Coward

I have a three home signal device, and while its ok, its a bit flaky, and the range is not great.

What we need is more small mobile stations or mesh networks for villages, as that is often who get poor reception. Also being able to connect to the mobile network via wifi instead of 3g/4g would be great for home use. (i am sure there is a standard to do that already)

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Trollface

Sex today on the network, dear?

Does the proliferation of Hetronets mean only Metrosexuals need be able to use them?

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Oops

"duel-generation boxes supporting 3G and 4G"

Let the standards fight out commence!

On a serious note, I think the idea of femto-cells, or Small Cells is great, even in a home environment. I'm on Voda, but have Orange and O2 handsets too. I get good coverage from those three operators at home (lucky-luck me!) but I'd be happy installing a cell to offload from the macro cells covering the nearby major transport arteries if there was some kind of benefit to me. As it is with Vodafone I'm expected to pay for the box and then provide free power+backhaul, yet they still bill me for use over that Femto-cell as if I had used their nearby macro cell.

These boxes have/had a great potential to free up spectrum from "static" users at home for the use of genuinely mobile users who are at least outside if not actually moving. The problem was in the implementation and mobile operators looking at these boxes as another way to squeeze money out of people. Even the Three/O2 boxes are only given free if you moan about the signal you get at home and threaten to leave (and your monthly bill is high enough that they don't want you to go etc).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Oops

I don't get why the mobile operators don't just use UMA, since then any wifi access point can be used to carry mobile data onto their network, all you need is a compatible phone...

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Alert

Until we get boxes that are multi-network there is a long, long way to go with this technology......

No-one wants to have to buy a different box for every network - and I suspect the tech to do this already exists.

You could even be presented with a web interface where you can turn the broadcast of different network providers on and off.

For instance - I would want Three and Vodafone - so I should be able to log in to the box, uncheck T-Mobile and Orange and that's it. If a friend comes by who uses one of the networks I am not currently broadcasting, I can log in to the box, enable the networks and they would start working immediately.

The thing is - it's not even rocket science - every one of these femtocells uses a VPN to connect back to the origin network, having multiple VPN's open - isn't really that much of a network overhead - the majority of the time the only traffic on the VPN will be management and keep-alive.

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Incentives

Assuming I understood the proposition correctly, the incentive they were discussing before the femtocell idea more or less went away was for the installer to get a better personal signal - in exchange for a hefty fee to obtain the box and providing backhaul for all and sundry.

That isn't enough for many potential installers, other than arguably for someone who lives in a very bad signal area and for whom mobile communications are a business must. Many more people will want to install these if they get cheaper or some free calls on the network they help create and greater levels of WiFi access from others' installations as well as their own.

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Vodafone Gateway v Virgin Media = femto fail

We have the original Vodafone gateway unit which worked fine in itself but was switched off a long time ago. The problem was the ntl/virgin media connection which continually timed out and dropped the calls. This also slowed down our other internet activity. We were caught in the middle; Voda saying their device worked correctly while VM said our internet connection problems disappear when we turned off the Gateway device. I am convinced VM detected the device traffic and slowed it down deliberately so they did not carry Vodafones traffic without them paying for it! The engineers denied it of course. Home femtocell great when it worked but was completely unreliable technology/service.

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