UbiquiSys, the developer of ZoneGate™, announced today it has secured first round investment totalling $12m from Accel Partners, Advent Venture Partners and Atlas Ventures.
So what is ZoneGate and what problem does it fix?
Today I have three phone numbers that people can call me on, fixed line at home and/or work (old world), mobile (now world) and VoIP (next world) but really I’d like to have just one personal phone number. As a result, I predominantly use my mobile phone number, whether I am at home, on the move or at work but more often than not the signal is too weak when in a building, causing the call quality to be too poor to be used effectively which means I have to revert back to a landline.
One potential solution to fix this poor signal problem would require mobile operators to install more macrocell masts, but as we all know the nimby mentality and fears of radiation often means planning applications are rejected. Equally I doubt the increased costs could be justified and with 3G, this signal problem doesn’t get any better, in fact it worsens, which means even more macrocell masts would be required!? So it’s unlikely that mobile operators will go does this road.
UbquiSys on the other hand think they have an alternative solution to fix this problem.
The ZoneGate system is a mobile access point that can be installed in a user’s home and integrated with the mobile operator’s core network. The ZoneGate system cracks the challenge of cost-effective 2G/3G roll-out by using advanced femtocell technology to provide high-quality, low-cost indoor coverage for consumers using existing GSM/UMTS handsets.
Basically ZoneGate is like having your own personal in-house mobile cell, so that the signal quality is boosted enabling you to use your mobile phone reliably as a fixed line phone replacement. So with my ZoneGate installed, I could just use my mobile number both at home and on the move.
Chris Gilbert, the new CEO of UbiquiSys said. “The system delivers robust and reliable cellular coverage in the home at landline/VoIP rates, enabling mobile operators to compete effectively with fixed line and VoIP providers.”
The ZoneGate system enables mobile operators to extend 2G and 3G coverage in an extremely targeted way, reduce deployment costs, generate new revenue streams and speed up fixed-mobile substitution.
Kaj-Erik Relander, General Partner, Accel London went further and helped explain why they had invested in UbiquiSys, “We believe ZoneGate can help revitalise the 3G business model and play a significant role in driving premium service take-up. The ZoneGate system allows operators to grow in-home revenues by offering competitive domestic pricing, while at the same time preserving the user-experience by allowing consumers to use everyday handsets.”