Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) this week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is talking about its new metrocells (what some might call picocells) and the fact that they’re now being used in trials by three customers.
Thomas R. Gruba, senior director of 3GPP product marketing, tells TMCnet that what Alcatel-Lucent calls metrocells might be referred to some others as picocells. The Alcatel-Lucent metrocells are unique from picocells, he adds, in that they are based on the company’s lightRadio technology, which uses beam forming that makes amplifiers on the radio towers more energy efficient, have an extremely small footprint, and lower the cost per bit for carriers.
The metrocells are part of Alcatel-Lucent’s hetnet strategy, which also includes macrocells and carrier-grade Wi-Fi. (Alcatel-Lucent on Feb. 14 introduced a Wi-Fi-enabled version of lightRadio.) Hetnet is a term being used throughout the industry; it describes the new heterogeneous wireless network that’s made up of large and smaller cells that may be based on various cellular and other wireless technologies. The metrocell solution was announced here at Mobile World Congress (News - Alert), but the products won’t be generally available until the end of the year.
In the meantime, Etilsat, in the United Arab Emirates, is among the service providers that have been testing the lightRadio Metro Radio Outdoor product – in this case over a working 4G LTE (News - Alert) network. The companies recently completed the technology trial. Etilsat is interested in the Alcatel Lucent technology given the growing demand it’s seeing for mobile broadband services including videoconferencing and on-demand TV.
“With lightRadio we will not only be able to accommodate this growth in traffic, but we will also be able to offer our customers the most innovative solutions so they can easily access the latest and greatest mobile data applications on their mobile device of choice,” says H.E. Ahmad Abdul Karim Julfar, Etisalat (News - Alert) Group CEO.
Edited by Jennifer Russell