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Post written by:

Basile Carle

Consultant, Market Intelligence Business Unit

Telecoms play an increasingly central role in our daily lives, especially since the onset of teleworking in companies, which naturally increases the amount of energy these systems consume.

According to Nokia, mobile networks’ annual energy consumption worldwide represents 72 billion EUR.

5G will alter usages and increase the networks’ overall consumption.

Even though 5G delivers greater mobile data transmission capacity, it comes as the result of increased use of different frequency bands which, in turn, leads to increased energy consumption.

There are nevertheless solutions for optimising the systems’ energy use. These include adopting 5G sleep modes and implementing them on the networks, replacing old infrastructures and improving massive MIMO systems, which will lower a 5G tower’s consumption to only 50% more than a 4G antenna, and even down to only 25% more in 2022 (according to forecasts).

The computing power needed for the signal management required by 5G will also demand slightly increased use of artificial intelligence.

But the future use of these solutions will depend heavily on telecom industry players’ proactive adoption and strategies. Equipment suppliers have a central role to play here in educating operators on best practices for achieving a greener 5G environment.

There are also ways for suppliers to stand out from the competition in the 5G era. Such as designing their own chipsets and in their use of AI. But very few vendors today are in a position to do so.

Some equipment suppliers are currently reporting that they are 20% more energy efficient than the competition. Most have invested in R&D to tackle these issues, and are forging partnerships with chipset-makers. Operators, meanwhile, need to adopt these solutions and innovations being made available by equipment suppliers to guarantee more environmentally-friendly 5G. For some operators, the top priority was getting a jump on the market, choosing a rapid 5G rollout over a more energy-efficient once (at least initially), whereas others, such as Orange, are taking a more cautious approach, albeit one that takes environmental concerns more fully into consideration.

In its “Green 5G” report, IDATE DigiWorld analyses the ways in which environmental aspects are being taken into account in 5G rollouts. It identifies some dozen solutions for reducing and optimising energy consumption, examines the strategies of some 20 players and delivers a detailed analysis of a broad selection of these strategies.

Drop us a line, to find out more about our “Green 5G” report!


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For more than forty years, Europe’s leading digital economy think tank, IDATE DigiWorld has played host to its Members and digital economy luminaries in Paris, London, Brussels and Morocco, to work together on building an enlightened digital society.

Our think tanks, our reports and the international watch services provided by our expert engineers, analysts and economists are an integral part of our commitment to highlighting and promoting France’s capacity for innovation, and to building a European industrial project as a sound alternative to American and Asian models in particular. To this end, our editorial policy throughout 2020 is to capitalise on our Members’ experience and lay the groundwork for this joint industrial project.

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