Vodafone, the UK-headquartered mobile telecommunications giant, has unveiled a new technology incubator in Silicon Valley.
The new facility, called Vodafone Xone, will allow start-ups, universities, corporate R&D departments and venture capital firms to test their technologies on a "fully functional replica" of its various mobile networks.
The company will provide office space, business development advice and technical consultancy for selected organisations, and will identify suitable candidates for investment by its finance arm, Vodafone Ventures.
A spokesperson for Vodafone told Information Age that Xone will offer Silicon Valley start-ups an opportunity to crack into the European mobile market, by testing their products on 3G networks, which are not common in the US, and by partnering with Vodafone itself. The company has around 150 million subscribers in Europe.
The spokesperson added that Vodafone Ventures may take an equity stake in those companies that use its office space "to help steer things a long a little", although Xone is not itself part of the venture division.
Vodafone is one of many technology giants to have voiced their support for the Department of Trade and Industry’s Tech City initiative to promote the technology sector in London. But while the likes of networking giant Cisco have announced financial investments in Tech City, the extent of Vodafone’s commitment has been to set up a Vodafone Ventures office in the Silicon Roundabout area.