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David Williams
Global Director of Sales, Research
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Multi-Standard Radio Systems: The Race Is On
Vendors are realizing the importance of investing in the development of innovative technologies to remain competitive in the mobile communications market. The situation is similar for operators confronted with declining margins; they, too, must continue introducing new services to stay ahead of the pack.

A promising solution for both camps could be multi-standard technology, which is developing in two basic directions: various components that are collocated and shared in a common cabinet in networks offering a mix of standards; and multi-standard radio systems using software-defined radio (SDR). With SDR, software replaces the controlling hardware so new standards and, someday, frequencies can be relatively easily and quickly added through software upgrades, drastically reducing the need for new hardware.

Multi-standard systems interest has grown, allowing vendors to pursue a strategy of "design once, deploy many" and operators to reuse equipment at base station sites and extend lifespan. Operators are keen to squeeze as much as possible from hardware investment and see a way to increase operational flexibility, maximize capital expenditure (capex), and reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) from a multi-standard technology.

Vendors, especially those that have been slow to embrace SDR, must figure out how to continue generating a profit in an industry that is increasingly dominated by software. Some big hardware makers found a way to generate revenue from software, and manufacturers of next-gen mobile phone systems may need to follow.

Despite the technological challenges, multi-standard radio systems are on their way and here to stay, and the development of multi-band radio systems will continue to advance. The reason is that operators want unified solutions, and competition will drive vendors to deliver them. It could take another year or more before the market is flush with these systems; however, it is no longer a question of if, but of when.

This report provides definitions of evolving multi-standard systems, as well as multi-band and combined multi-standard/multi-band solutions. It analyzes the key technical issues affecting multi-standard systems and evaluates the main market drivers and commercial implications. The report also profiles 11 leading suppliers of multi-standard systems.

Multi-Standard Radio Systems: The Race Is On provides critical insight and analysis for a range of industry participants, including:

Network operators reusing equipment to keep costs down and creating new "future-proof" technologies.
Technology suppliers attempting to bypass the R&D process and save money by using multi-standard technology to reuse hardware platforms.
Investors seeking a way to lower costs in the mobile communications market, while offering better services.
Sample research data from the report is shown in the excerpts below:
Table of Contents (uni1008_toc.pdf)
Major vendors offer, or plan to offer, modular, multi-standard solutions, largely in the form of cabinets sharing components under one roof and connect multiple baseband and radio units to support multiple standards. It is a significant first step toward consolidation and joint usage of modules. Such shared cabinets break with the traditional practice of locating each radio technology in separate cabinets. These solutions are shown in the following excerpt.
[click on the image above for the full excerpt]
Companies analyzed in this report include: Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU); Andrew Wireless Solutions, a division of CommScope Inc. (NYSE: CTV); Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC); Freescale Semiconductor Inc.; Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.; Nokia Siemens Networks, a joint venture of Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE); Nortel Networks Ltd. (NYSE/Toronto: NT); Nujira Ltd.; Ubidyne Inc.; Vanu Inc.; and ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763).
Total pages: 23
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