Alcatel-Lucent LightRadio Could Reinvent The Cell Tower

Alcatel-Lucent is one of those companies that you know has a huge impact on technology, but you can never really put your finger on it. They're a company that mostly revolves behind the scenes, but they play a hugely important role in how we communicate over mobile networks. This week, they're getting a lot more attention than usual in the mainstream technology press, and it's all due to something called the LightRadio.

If you're familiar with conventional cellphone towers, you'd know that they're huge, heavy and ugly. Carriers generally have a tough time getting them installed in cities, and a lot of that has to do with just how hulking they are. But the company's LightRadio could change the game. These tiny boxes can be used in groups, and A-L hopes that this will be the end of the basestation and cell tower as we know it. We can't imagine that it would happen that quickly, but we definitely don't mind moving in this direction.

The company also hopes that this approach will cut down on energy cost, reduce the total cost of implementation and improve service. Speaking of service, these can handle 2G, 3G and LTE systems, and they can be mounted on poles, side of buildings and anywhere else where there's power and a broadband Internet connection. Hello, redundancy!

The Disappearing Mobile Masts and Towers
lightRadio™ - Solving Network Gridlock and Universal High-Speed Coverage

PARIS & LONDON, February 7, 2011 – The looming global gridlock in mobile communications promises to be averted following the launch today of pioneering technology which will remove the bottlenecks constraining mobile networks and help deliver universal broadband coverage.

Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU), the leading network technology group, has joined forces with industry partners to develop lightRadio™, a new system that signals the end of the mobile industry’s reliance on masts and base stations around the world.

Ben Verwaayen, Chief Executive Officer of Alcatel-Lucent, said: “Today’s and tomorrow’s demands for coverage and capacity require a breakthrough in mobile communications.”  

He added: “lightRadio will signal the end of the basestation and the cell tower as we know it today.”

Governments and regulatory bodies are expected to welcome the technical development, which will help meet targets for universal broadband access by laying the foundation to address the so-called “digital divide.”

Other major benefits from lightRadio™ include:

•         Shrinking the carbon footprint of mobile networks by over 50%

•         Reducing the Total-Cost-of-Ownership of mobile operators by up to 50%

•         Improving end user services by significantly increasing bandwidth per user thanks to the deployment of small antennas everywhere

Wim Sweldens, President of Alcatel-Lucent’s Wireless Division said: “lightRadio will help mobile operators evolve their networks to address the mobile broadband deluge.”

lightRadio represents a new approach where the base station, typically located at the base of each cell site tower, is broken into its components elements and then distributed into both the antenna and throughout a cloud-like network.

lightRadio also shrinks today’s clutter of antennas serving 2G, 3G, and LTE systems into a single powerful, Bell Labs-pioneered antenna that can be mounted on poles, sides of buildings or anywhere else there is power and a broadband connection.

The innovation coincides with growing demand for third-and-fourth generation mobile networks and devices, involving the mass adoption of wireless television services and other forms of broadband content. The total addressable market for the radio technology necessary to serve such networks and devices is expected to exceed €100bn1 over the next seven years.

Alcatel-Lucent announced the lightRadio™ technical specifications and launch timetable at an industry event in London today. Visit for product press release and link to event replay (available at 2:30 GMT).

[1] This is the total addressable market for multi-technology radio solutions that consist of radio access base stations that simultaneously support 2G, 3G, and LTE, and multiple frequencies in the same platform