- We introduce in this paper a new adaptive power-controlled diversity combining scheme that reduces the average transmitted power of the mobile units (MUs) while meeting a certain minimum required quality of service. The key idea is (i) to collect and combine all the available diversity paths at the base station (BS) and then (ii) to request the MU to increase or decrease its transmitted power just to track the required target signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). Four power control variants accounting for practical implementation constraints including discrete power levels and transmitter gain saturation are proposed and studied. Some selected numerical results show that the proposed scheme offers considerable savings in the transmitted power levels over a wide SNR range but amplifier saturation leads to a violation of the target BER requirement in the low average SNR range. Additional numerical examples show that the power control variants that take into account practical implementation constraints conserve the main features of the ideal continuous power algorithm. Copyright 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.