Energy costs represent the third most significant operating expense (OPEX) item for cellular carriers today and fluctuating energy costs are a significant area of concern for business planners.

The introduction of mobile broadband to the equation means that the energy required per subscriber arising from increasing the data uptake will push per-subscriber energy OPEX for cellular solutions past acceptable barriers—unless carriers move from a traditional cellular only approach to one that integrates WiMAX and Metro Wi-Fi. Stuart Carlaw, director of wireless research at ABI Research, says that “From a pure coverage perspective WiMAX is twice as energy-cost-effective and Metro Wi-Fi is 50 times more energy-cost-effective than WCDMA.

When data traffic is factored into the equation, WiMAX can accommodate 11 times today’s average data consumption and still be more energy-cost-efficient compared to WCDMA or HSDPA.”

A recent ABI Research study found that the total energy consumption arising from mobile service delivery is forecast to grow from 48.2 billion kilowatt hours (KWh) in 2005 to 124.4 billion KWh in 2011. The Asia Pacific region will account for the majority of this growth.

The report, “Energy Efficiency Analysis for Mobile Broadband Solutions,” provides a theoretical and real world analysis of the relative costs of deploying WCDMA, HSDPA, CDMA2000 1xRTT, EV-DO, WiMAX and Municipal Wi-Fi. It offers strategic recommendations to the industry as to the best way of combating rising power consumption costs.

It forms part of two ABI Research Services: Mobile Devices and Mobile Broadband, which also include other Research Reports, Research Briefs, Market Data, Online Databases, ABI Insights and analyst inquiry support.