January 26, 2011 / 9:05 AM / 9 years ago

Coming next: Carry-along base station for travelers

HELSINKI (Reuters) - A technology startup backed by Google unveiled on Wednesday the world’s first personal base station for international travelers, enabling them to cut roaming fees and make mobile calls like in a home country.

Steven Levy, a journalist from Newsweek magazine, holds the Apple iPhone. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Ubiquisys said the timing of devices reaching consumers depended on telecoms operators and it was in talks with several operators.

The telecom network base station, which is plugged into the travelers computer, is slightly larger than a smartphone, and needs an Internet connection.

Depending on local regulations, travelers would need to put the phone on base station or it works within a room.

The new device, called attocell, is designed for use with Apple’s iPhone, but it works also with Google’s Android phones, RIM’s Blackberry and Nokia’s smartphones.

Ubiquisys is one of the top firms in the new market for femtocells — small, low-power indoor base station for 3G mobile phone networks — enabling operators who struggle with network capacity to improve indoor coverage at a much lower cost.

Many industry analysts forecast the market to surge in the next few years, helped by falling prices, and to top $1 billion in two to three years.

In addition to Ubiquisys, major technology firms such as Cisco, Samsung Electronics, Alcatel-Lucent and Huawei make femtocells.

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 3G mobile phones.

In addition to Google Ubiquisys owners include Accel Partners, Advent Venture Partners, Atlas Venture, T-Mobile’s venture fund, SerComm Corp. and UMC Capital Corporation.

Editing by Anshuman Daga

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