Palm-size base stations to replace cell towers

The massive, expensive and energy hungry mobile base stations will soon be a thing of the past thanks to a new technology launched by Alcatel-Lucent.

The LightRadio is a cube-shaped miniature base station that was launched in February last year. Alcatel’s own research shows lightRadio reduces energy consumption of mobile networks by up to 50 percent, and costs less than half to build and maintain than conventional cell towers.

Alcatel-Lucent’s technology bundles frequencies into smaller but powerful antennas which can be mounted on pole or sides of buildings. This will allow off-grid communities access broadband through wireless networks.

“LightRadio uses IP microwave which really helps because many parts in Africa have not been reached by the fibre cable,” said Daniel Jaeger, Alcatel-Lucent’s Vice-President for Africa.

Jaeger says Alcatel-Lucent has been working with four of the biggest telecommunications company in Europe, Asia and Middle East to deploy lightRadio.

“We have embarked in a co-creation program with the telecom players to push forward the realization of the vision of the next generation mobile access network on lightRadio,” explains Jaeger.

It is expected operators will pass the cost savings to the end users as a result of cheaper and more efficient technology, enabling more people in Africa to access services and information through mobile broadband



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