US vendor Qualcomm has added 3G femtocell chipsets to its product roadmap, with European president Andrew Gilbert warning that existing network structures are reaching their spectral limits.

“Capacity is critical to the success of mobile broadband,” he said. “LTE gets close to the limits of spectral efficiency; we need more base stations in the market.”

The pre-commercial sampling stage for the Femtocell Station Modem product is set for Q2 2010, and Qualcomm said it will be the first chipset compatible with HSPA+ and CDMA2000 1X and EV-DO Rev. A and B.

Gilbert conceded that Qualcomm is feeling the affects of the economic downturn, but argued that in the handset sales arena, where Qualcomm would be expected to face some exposure, the 3G sector is proving more resilient than the 2G sector, in which Qualcomm does not play. He also predicted that telecoms as an industry will outperform other sectors during the financial crisis.

Qualcomm has always enjoyed robust fiscal health and Gilbert confirmed that the Californian headquartered organisation will continue to invest in European firms. He didn’t reveal how much remains in Qualcomm’s European investment war chest, but now could be a good time to snap up companies whose asking price might have dropped.

“Our role as a strategic investor is more important now than ever. We will help the innovation cycle, even for the smaller and most vulnerable companies,” he said.