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Alcatel-Lucent to Introduce Radio Interface for DAS System

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Alcatel-Lucent is all set to launch a radio interface for distributed antenna systems (“DAS”) to improve LTE deployment of mobile operators in populous urban areas such as shopping malls, hotels and office blocks. The company’s advanced radio interface will help operators boost signal performance, and slash power consumption and operational costs by 90%.

Though not a typical DAS provider, Alcatel-Lucent offers a “wideband low-power” LTE interface card, Distributed Antenna System Radio Frequency Module (“DAS RFM”), which eliminates use of bulky radio technology for public installations. The DAS platform, compatible with the company’s LTE radio access portfolio, can easily connect to 9926 digital baseband unit, thereby reducing power consumption and space requirement compared with traditional remote radio heads (“RRH”).

Interestingly, a study conducted by Bell Labs has found that compared with RRHs, Alcatel-Lucent’s DAS RFM can reduce costs related to power and cooling by 81%, construction by 91%, space 91% and energy 78%.

Being host neutral, DAS RFM allows several venue owners and managers to share the system, which adds to its commercial appeal. Available in two wideband hardware versions, the DAS RFM is suitable for use in both low-band and high-band radios, with each radio covering 6–10 bands.

Alcatel-Lucent’s plan to launch the radio interface comes at an opportune moment, with increasing use of distributed antenna systems in the U.S. and China. Moreover, factors like need of ultra-broadband access, successful installation of cooling equipment in limited space and neutrality of host system will likely fuel further growth in DAS installations, thereby benefiting the company.

From a broader perspective, Alcatel-Lucent’s decision to launch the innovative radio interface is consistent with its efforts to improve LTE offerings for strengthening its market position. As a matter of fact, Alcatel-Lucent’s LTE technology has been deployed by 8 of the 10 largest global mobile network operators who own over 50% of the LTE market. According to Garnter’s latest Magic Quadrant analysis, the company also happens to be one of the top 5 LTE vendors in the market, preceded by Nokia (NOK - Free Report) , Ericsson (ERIC - Free Report) and Huawei. At the same time, the company’s merger deal with Nokia is expected to improve its competitive position significantly.

Alcatel-Lucent currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A better-ranked stock in the industry is TESSCO Technologies Inc. (TESS - Free Report) , sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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