MWC 2012: AlcaLu Turns Co-Creationist

Michelle Donegan
LR Mobile News Analysis
Michelle Donegan
2/28/2012



BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress 2012 -- Some of the world's largest operators will have a say in the design of Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU)'s lightRadio products as part of a development program the vendor announced here on Tuesday.

China Mobile Communications Corp. , Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF), Salt SA and Verizon Wireless are the first operators that are working with AlcaLu on the joint development projects. AlcaLu calls the model "co-creation."

"We're not going to do co-creation with every customer," said Rajeev Singh-Molares, AlcaLu's president of Asia/Pacific. "That sort of mass customization would be too expensive."

But the idea behind these projects is that certain customers can influence the design and direction of the new small-cell radio products, thus making sure that the products are on the right track to meet operator needs.

So what is it about the lightRadios that requires such collaboration with operators?

"All of us are still learning how to manage a phenomenon that's new," explained Singh-Molares, referring to the growth of smartphone subscribers and mobile data traffic. Some of the key questions that operators are grappling with are, "How is traffic generated? Where? And how is it managed?"

"The complexity that the data storm has created is huge," he added.

In one example of this development project, China Mobile has a team of its engineers working with AlcaLu's engineers at the vendor's R&D lab in Stuttgart, Germany. Together, the companies are working on cube-based radio baseband unit, pooling and defining the radio architecture.

The first products resulting from this cooperation with China Mobile will be commercially available by the end of this year, according to Singh-Molares.

The lightRadios are generating interest here in Barcelona, as Telefónica has installed LTE versions of the cubes around the Fira conference center. (See AlcaLu lightRadios Go Live at MWC and lightRadio: Stealing, Security & Lockdown.)

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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