China Mobile, the world's biggest mobile phone operator, and network equipment supplier Alcatel-Lucent are to co-develop a next-generation radio access network (RAN).
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The companies used the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona to say they had signed a memorandum of understanding for the project.
They will run joint technical and economic studies to explore the technologies essential to build a centralised, collaborative, cloud-based RAN (C-RAN) in order to set new standards for cost-effectiveness, network intelligence and energy-efficiency.
The C-RAN will also provide a common platform for multi-mode wireless standards such as GSM, 3G, and LTE, enabling mobile network operators to improve network quality and coverage, reduce transmission resource consumption. They hope such a system will halve operating costs and cut capital costs by 15%.
The project will be based on Alcatel-Lucent's lightRadio product suite announced just prior to MWC. Pioneered by Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent's research and development arm, the new lightRadio system literally fits a mobile base station into the palm of a hand.