Funding to enable consumers – for the first time – to use their existing mobiles for calls via home internet connection
Amadeus Capital Partners has led a follow-on round of financing of $ 10 million in ip.access, the market leader in cellular picocell and femtocell (cellular-over-IP) technologies. Existing investors Intel Capital Corporation, Rothschild & Cie Gestion and Scottish Equity Partners are participating in the financing, which will enable mobile operators to bring to consumers the ability – for the first time – to use their existing 3G mobile phones for making calls and watching video clips via their home broadband connection.
The new funding brings the total venture capital raised by the company to date to $ 27 million. ip.access currently has an annual revenue run rate of $25 million from its thriving 2G/EDGE picocell business and aims, with the launch of its new product, to increase that to over $100 million.
Unlike some cumbersome and expensive new technologies that are emerging for making mobile calls at home, ip.access’ ground-breaking Oyster 3G consumer/SOHO femtocell product will allow users to make high quality calls from their existing 3G mobile phone, via their broadband connection to the internet with seamless handover from indoors to outdoors and back. It will also enable consumers to enjoy popular 3G mobile services such as music downloading and video streaming, using the same broadband connection.
The company believes that 2007 will be a key year in the development of consumer femtocells and is in detailed discussions with leading carriers to integrate ip.access’ Oyster 3G into their existing networks. User trials are expected to commence in the middle of this year, with rollout to the consumer in early 2008.
“We are delighted that Amadeus is joining the ip.access board. The firm has an excellent track record of backing market-leading technology companies and their team’s experience will be a great addition to our business and our top-tier advisory team” said Stephen Mallinson, CEO of ip.access. “The strength of the ip.access’ investment group is testament to the importance of the picocell and femtocell markets. From ip.access’ perspective, this funding will provide a firm foundation for the growth that we anticipate over the next 24 months.”
In addition, the company has recently concluded a major manufacturing deal with Taiwanese company USI and has existing relationships with mobile carriers including T-Mobile, Vodafone, Telefonica/O2, Telfort (KPN) and network equipment vendors including Siemens and Alcatel. ip.access’ Oyster 3G product is shortlisted in the GSM Association’s best radio access product category for the 2007 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona.
Andrea Traversone of Amadeus Capital Partners said: “We are delighted to be supporting ip.access. Every one of the world’s 3G operators that is serious about delivering high-speed data to customers will need to deploy a residential femto layer. ip.access has demonstrated that their product can be deployed in today’s networks whilst also supporting the evolution to an IMS core (the architecture of future telecoms networks). The company has already established a track record as a pioneer in bringing IP and cellular technologies together to deliver mobile phone calls from broadband connections and is at the forefront of the femtocell revolution.”