Startup Story

KoalaTech is a Portuguese startup, spunoff from Nova University of Lisbon and focuses on reducing wasted energy in wireless communications, hence reducing operational costs and enhancing eco-sustainability in telecommunications.

Tell us about your start up
Koala Tech is focused on the solution for the problem of power consumption and energy efficiency in telecommunication systems. Koala Tech’s holistic design engineers created disruptive technology that reduces the huge amount of wasted energy in present and future wireless communications, contributing both for reducing the operational costs and achieving ecosustainability in telecommunications. The new concept QDA (Quantized Digital Amplification) creates a disruption over traditional RF front ends power amplifiers and opens a way for a new level of energy efficiency in telecommunications, addressing the longstanding topic of the energy efficiency in wireless communications networks due to its impact on coverage, signal quality and operational costs, and the consequent negatives impacts on the environment.

What is your USP?
QDA brings an energy efficiency increase of several times compared to competing technologies. This is independent of bandwidth and signal characteristics. Or put another way, for each unit of energy supplied to the RF power amplifier, the QDA can put 2 to 5 times more RF power on the air, when compared with current solutions. Conversely, for the same output power, use of QDA technology will reduce the energy required by same amount. This represents significant energy cost savings for the mobile operator, or extended battery life in handsets. The production costs of QDA chips for Radio remote units of base stations (QDA4RRU) are the same as current RF PA production costs, and potentially lower due to the reduction in the Bill of Materials. Also, the adoption of QDA4RRU is very simple since it implies only a change on the amplification stage of the RRU equipment of existing Base Stations, satellites, and other devices without affecting other equipment stages, such as the Base Band Unit. Therefore, it can be rolled-out gradually without affecting other elements of the network. Also, the adoption of the QDA for system on chip (QDA4ASIC) in the production of chipsets for wireless user equipment will benefit from the lower integration costs of CMOS technology. Contributing to our USP, all of the presented technology is patented in the United States, Europe, China and India.

What is your relationship with the telecom sector?
The new Quantized Digital Amplification can be deployed at both sides of the wireless communication channel, from network radio transmitters (e.g. mobile base stations, Wi-Fi access points) to wireless user equipment (e.g. mobile handsets, computers, tablets, IoT). QDA4RRU directly addresses the market of RF power amplification and RF front ends (FEM) for network telecommunications systems like 4G and 5G standards, and Satellite Communications (both ground and space segments). The target market of QDA4RRU is divided into two main groups: • Mobile Network Base station and satellite producers. • RF front end and RF power amplifier manufacturers. The QDA4ASIC market includes the major chipset manufacturers for handsets and Wi-Fi routers.

How have you reached your current stage of development?
Six years of research and development were needed to create the concept and validated the technology before company foundation at the end of 2018. First discrete hardware prototype for practical validation was concluded in 2019. In 2020, a second QDA PCB prototype was developed and implemented using switched amplifiers (TRL6), with average energy efficiencies around 40% for multi-carrier (MC) and above 50% for single carrier (SC) and bandwidths of up to 20 MHz. In 2021, a first chip for 880 MHz was implemented with average efficiency around 40% for bandwidths higher than 100 MHz. Discrete TRL6 QDA prototypes for 3.4 GHz with bandwidths of up to 20 MHz and similar efficiencies to the first discrete prototype, were implemented in 2021. First TRL6/7 QDA4RRU prototypes with combination over the air (no combiner chip needed) have been already implemented for 3.4 GHz and 5.2 GHz Second version of combiner’s chip will be concluded in first quarter of 2023. The design of an evaluation kit fully compliant with the 5G was almost completed in 2022 (it will be ready in second quarter of 2023) with efficiencies around 50%.

Why did you establish the business?
To develop a new generation of signal power amplification chips based on QDA and contribute to reduce the huge amount of wasted energy in present and future wireless communications, contributing to lower operational costs and to eco-sustainability in telecommunications.

What inspired you?
An unsolved problem which is the very low energy efficiency present on current power amplification technologies in telecommunication transmitters. Current typical average efficiency on power amplification of signals are around 12% for base stations in 4G and near 6% in 5G base stations, meaning that up to 90% of the energy used in amplification is wasted as heat (in fact the wasted energy is 7 to 10 times higher than the transmitted one), resulting in severe power losses & high energy consumption. And a background of more 25 years in research on signal design and microelectronics supporting a new holistic approach for a solution to reach higher energy efficiency on signal amplification transmission based on a new concept.

What does the future hold for your business?
We would like to see Koala Tech (KT) recognized as playing a key role in energy efficient transmitters for modern and greener telecommunications systems. The QDA technology developed by KT is timely and can have a significant impact in the coming years with the deployment of new generation communication systems. KT is also developing other technologies with the potential to embrace other markets, like physical layer security, and we are confident we can become one of the forerunners in this area. Five years on, we see KT continuing to expand the application of its technology and contributing for a reference cluster in this area of Europe and contributing towards a greener society.

Koala Tech are one of the organisations you will meet in the Startup Village at Total Telecom which this year moves to a new home at The RAI in Amsterdam. Find out more at or to join as a startup email