Today, they are investing in Ubiquisys, which manufactures femtocells. Basically, femtocells are an emerging technology, aimed at a better user experience (in-house coverage), as well as traffic offloading for mobile operators (traffic is offloaded through the femtocell and the home gateway onto the user's broadband connection).
It's not an easy sell, as Disruptive Dean has shown several times (how do you get the user to 'buy' it?; competition from the enhanced WiFi standard 11n for better in-home coverage of UMA handsets; the expected move to 900 MHz band, for better in-home coverage; etc.).
This adds to previous baby steps:
- A WiFi network in San Francisco, together with EarthLink.
- Funding for Spanish FON (WiFi sharing).
- Rumours about a Google Phone (OK, that is taking the access business one step further) and the the other communications efforts.
- Lobby efforts over the upcoming 700 MHz auction in the US, aimed at open access.
- Remember MVNO rumours in the UK (with O2)?
I am working on a story that could, at least in theory, very well be the next (big) step. More on that after the weekend week.