Alca-Lu gets radical on multi-access RAN

Alcatel-Lucent claims a radical new approach to deploying cellular base stations could cut the total cost of ownership in half, while also reducing the environmental impact of the sites.
At its simplest level, the firm’s lightRadio infrastructure – unveiled in London yesterday - separates the base station from the cellular tower by distributing the core elements in the antenna array and on networks similar to Cloud set-ups.
The solution, developed by the firm’s Bell Labs research arm in conjunction with HP and Freescale, also sports a smaller antenna array that incorporates 2G, 3G and LTE receivers in a package that can be mounted on buildings and poles.
Alcatel-Lucent claims the new approach could cut operator’s total cost of ownership by around €75 billion, based on Bell Labs’ estimate that carriers total spend in 2010 hit €150 billion. The set-up should also cut global base stations’ CO2 emissions by 9 million metric tons, the firm noted.
Chief Ben Verwaayen said the new approach “will signal the end of the base station and cell tower as we know it.”
Growing demand for “coverage and capacity require a breakthrough in mobile communications,” he added.
Carriers including France Telecom and Verizon Wireless have already expressed an interest in the new technology, and Alcatel-Lucent revealed it is also at an advanced stage in planning field trials with China Mobile.
The firm aims to grab a slice of a multi-technology radio market it estimates could be worth €12 billion in 2014, and account for 55% of the global wireless RAN market.