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Base Station baseband Mergers & Acquisitions

Nokia acquires Envelope Tracking start-up for base station efficiency

Envelope tracking is one of those technologies which has a ‘moment’ every few years and then fades out of sight. It last hit the news last year when Qualcomm acquired one of its main proponents in the mobile field, the UK’s Nujira. Now Nokia has made its own acquisition in this area, buying Eta Devices.

Envelope tracking (ET) is a power supply technique which increases device or base station power efficiency and bandwidth agility, by replacing the fixed DC supply voltage with high bandwidth dynamic supply voltage. This tracks the amplitude, or ‘envelope’, of the transmitted RF signal. The technique was invented in Bell Labs in 1937 and now has come home to Nokia, the new owner of the famous R&D outfit.

Eta claims its implementation, ETAdvanced, goes further than conventional ET and can support wider bandwidths, which will contribute to Nokia’s bid to improve base station energy consumption under its ‘Zero Emission’ initiative.

Its new subsidiary claims to have achieved 70% efficiency in base stations, whereas the usual range is between 20% and 45%. Nokia has previously said that its current Zero Emission solution also reaches 70% efficiency and it did not go into detail about how this and the Eta solution would fit together.

“This translates to savings for operators that can be invested as 4.9G and 5G approach,” said Nokia in a statement. “Eta Devices’ technology reduces the need for back-up power, translating into smaller base station cabinets and reduced equipment breakdown rates., and supporting Nokia’s target to continuously strengthen the base station power”.

Eta was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with an R&D office in Stockholm, Sweden. It employs around 20 people.

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