Qualcomm Readies Femtocell Chipset

Qualcomm has started sampling its FSM9xxx family of chipsets for femtocells, the company said on Tuesday.

The company announced its plan to enter the 3G femtocell market in February 2009, and it expects the first products based on the FSM9xxx chipsets will arrive before the end of the year, it said in a statement.

Femtocells are small base stations that can improve indoor mobile broadband coverage and increase capacity. When a user is making calls and surfing the Web with a phone or laptop equipped with wireless broadband, signals are sent via the femtocell and a fixed broadband connection. For carriers they also provide a chance to offload users from the regular mobile network and save money on backhaul capacity.

Qualcomm's chipsets work with a number of different mobile network technologies, including HSPA+ (High-Speed Packet Access) and EV-DO Rev. B.

That a large chip vendor like Qualcomm is entering the femtocell market is a step in the right direction, according to Malik Saadi, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, and will help to lower the cost of femtocells, he said.

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