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Power costs may dictate mobile broadband options, says report

Posted: 11 Dec 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ABI Research? power? WiMAX? WCDMA? Metro Wi-FI?

Cellular broadband technologies used in isolation might not be the best route for maximizing margins for the segment, according to a recent report from ABI Research. Instead, WiMAX or Metro Wi-Fi are eyed as possible alternatives to solve the problem. The research firm forecasted that in terms of power consumption OPEX, the cost of delivering wireless services to WCDMA customers by 2011 will be near $14 annually, while Metro Wi-Fi will be as low as just over $1.

"As soon as data consumption reaches between two and three times today's levels, a tipping point is reached, at which cell shrinkage and capacity degradation for WCDMA and CDMA2000 networks mean that carriers will need to install extra network elements that support the subscriber base, at considerable expense," said Stuart Carlaw, principal analyst at ABI Research. "More importantly, the power consumption required to support these upgrades will destroy any potential benefit carriers see from data revenues."

According to the Energy Efficiency Analysis for Mobile Broadband Networks report, power consumption is one of the top three network operating expenses for carriers and should be at the core of their technology choices for mobile broadband. Carriers are putting significant investment into rolling out 3G networks, and will continue to do so as these networks evolve toward 4G over the next several years.

The study found that from a conceptual perspectivesuch mixed networks are still in their infancythe best way to support mobile broadband will be to integrate current cellular offerings with targeted WiMAX and Metro Wi-Fi deployments in dense high traffic areas.

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