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The amount of control signaling required by a wide range of wireless services to reconfigure system and architecture parameters at runtime is expected to increase significantly. Low-power design constraints force the decoding complexity to be kept to a minimum in such "continuous monitoring" scenarios. We propose a novel reduced search concept which can be adapted to MLSE-based algorithms to reduce the processing complexity without altering the communication performance. Power consumption reductions of up to 45% have been observed for TFCI and up to 50% for HS-SCCH (both 3GPP specific) decoding implemented on the ST122 DSP-MCU in a 0.13 μm CMOS technology.