In only seven years, mobile operators will have to respond to financial pressures by tearing apart their legacy network architectures, according to research from Maravedis-Rethink. Carriers will turn to platforms such as Cloud-RAN (C-RAN) which will virtualize baseband processing functions for hundreds of sites on a server or base station hotel, enabling operators to leave commoditized, low-cost equipment at the actual cell sites. This, the firm said, will drive down the base station equipment cost below $100 by 2020. However, those costs savings will be achieved only after operators invest some $3.45 billion over five years in new software, servers and LTE RAN equipment. For more, see this release.