We introduce a unified framework for the study of the utility and the energy efficiency of solutions to a large class of weighted max-min utility maximization problems in interference-coupled wireless networks. In more detail, given a network utility maximization problem parameterized by a maximum power budget $\bar{p}$ available to network elements, we define two functions that map the power budget $\bar{p}$ to the energy efficiency and to the utility achieved by the solution. Among many interesting properties, we prove that these functions are continuous and monotonic. In addition, we derive bounds revealing that the solutions to utility maximization problems are characterized by a low and a high power regime. In the low power regime, the energy efficiency of the solution can decrease slowly as the power budget increases, and the network utility grows linearly at best. In contrast, in the high power regime, the energy efficiency typically scales as $\Theta(1/\bar{p})$ as $\bar{p}\to\infty$, and the network utility scales as $\Theta(1)$. We apply the theoretical findings to a novel weighted rate maximization problem involving the joint optimization of the uplink power and the base station assignment.

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