O2 Trials Femtocells with NEC and Ubiquisys


UK’s First Trial to Boost Indoor Coverage Goes Live

Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, 11 February 2008 – Telefónica O2 Europe today announced live femtocell experience trials in the UK in partnership with NEC Corporation and Ubiquisys, targeting a commercial launch of the technology by early 2009.

The UK’s first full trial of femtocell technology – which is a new way of improving in-building 3G coverage – has begun an initial period of live testing in February. If successful, the trial will be rolled out to up to 500 users across the UK in the summer.

NEC – a leading provider of 3G infrastructure and handsets, internet and broadband network solutions – is O2’s trial partner and has supplied an integrated solution centred around Ubiquisys ZoneGate femtocells.

Vivek Dev, Chief Operating Officer of Telefónica O2 Europe, said: “This technology has the potential to support increased growth in the usage and consumption of services and data and could play a crucial role in underpinning the explosive growth of mobile broadband usage.”

Dev added: “Our Apple iPhone is already driving unheard-of levels of mobile internet usage, and the introduction of flat rate data tariffs is expected to increase this further. Both of these place huge capacity demands on our networks, and because so much of that usage is at home, femtocells coupled with DSL could provide an alternative capacity resource.”

He said: “We see femtocells as complimentary to our outdoors coverage and, using our current service set as a base, we aim to build applications that our customers need and value. The trial will help us define what is required to make femtocell services a success for our customers by understanding how customers will use the service.”

Richard Hanscott, VP Network Solutions Europe, NEC, said “O2, NEC and Ubiquisys have collective reputations for practical innovation, and with femtocells we believe we know what is important. Together with our partner Ubiquisys, we have a proven radio, network and management solution which allows customers to deploy femtocells quickly and easily, and allows operators to manage these in a customer centric way.”

He added: “O2 has always been an innovator and marrying this with their experience of harnessing true customer requirements, it allows NEC to leverage this experience to create a robust solution. We fully expect the commercialisation of Femtocells to begin in 2009 and look forward to seeing the results of the landmark trial.”

Chris Gilbert, CEO of Ubiquisys, said: “We are very happy to be working with Telefonica O2 Europe in this ground breaking trial which will take femtocell technology to the mass market. Our ZoneGate femtocell is so simple to use that anyone can plug it in, it will automatically configure itself and work, so they can forget it’s there.”

Femtocells are designed to improve indoor 3G mobile-broadband coverage by re-routing data from cellular networks and onto wired DSL connections, building cellular coverage from the inside out. O2 also launched trials in the Czech Republic this month, on the back of successful tests that have been carried out in Madrid by Telefónica since last year.

About Telefónica O2 Europe

Telefónica O2 Europe comprises integrated fixed/mobile businesses in the UK, Germany and the Czech Republic, along with mobile network operations in Ireland and Slovakia – all of which use ‘O2’ as their consumer brand. Telefónica O2 Europe also owns 50% of the Tesco Mobile and Tchibo Mobilfunk joint venture businesses in the UK, Ireland and Germany respectively. In addition, the group includes the Isle of Man fixed/mobile operator, Manx Telecom. Telefónica O2 Europe, part of the Telefónica group, is headquartered in Slough, UK, and has more than 40 million mobile and fixed customers.

About Telefónica

Telefónica is one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world in terms of number of clients and market capitalisation. Its activities are centered mainly on the fixed and mobile telephony businesses with broadband as the key tool for the development of both. The company has a significant presence in 24 countries and a customer base that amounts more than 218 million accesses around the world. Telefónica has a strong presence in Spain, the rest of Europe and Latin America, where the company focuses an important part of its growth strategy. Telefónica is a 100% listed company, with more than 1.7 million direct shareholders. Its share capital currently comprises 4,773,496,485 ordinary shares traded on the Spanish Stock Market (Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia) and on those in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Tokyo, New York, Lima, Buenos Aires and São Paulo.

About NEC

NEC Corporation is one of the world's leading providers of Internet, broadband network and enterprise business solutions dedicated to meeting the specialised needs of its diverse and global base of customers. NEC delivers tailored solutions in the key fields of computer, networking and electron devices, by integrating its technical strengths in IT and Networks, and by providing advanced semiconductor solutions through NEC Electronics Corporation. The NEC Group employs more than 150,000 people worldwide. For additional information, please visit the NEC home page at: www.nec.com

About Ubiquisys

Ubiquisys is a privately owned communications company formed in 2004 to bring the ground breaking ZoneGate femtocell technology to market. The ZoneGate 3G access point is a small plug-and-play device that simply and seamlessly connects to a user's broadband gateway or becomes an integrated module as part of a comprehensive residential gateway device. The system is network connectivity agnostic, supporting multiple interfaces to the operator’s core network. The ZoneGate access point is remotely managed and updated using standard TR-069 management systems. ZoneGate enables mobile operators to extend 3G coverage in an extremely targeted way, reduce deployment costs, generate new revenue streams and speed up fixed-mobile convergence. The company is funded by Accel Partners, Advent Venture Partners, Atlas Venture and Google. Ubiquisys also was recently named a Red Herring Europe 100 Winner. For more information, visit www.ubiquisys.com.

Press contacts

Telefónica O2 Europe
Simon Lloyd
Head of Media Relations
Telefónica O2 Europe plc
07912 072777

Ed Howson
Phone +44 (0)7740173051

Chris Shimizu
NEC Europe Ltd

Mairi Drysdale
+44-20-7608 2500