Operators switch on to energy saving


The prospect of power shortages across Europe this winter is leading to fears that mobile networks could go dark. In France electricity distributor Enedis is openly talking about blackouts of up to two hours a day in certain parts of the country, and whilst the plan is for essential services (hospitals, police, government etc) not be impacted the French Federation of Telecoms (FFT), lobbying on behalf of Orange, Bouygues Telecom and Altice’s SFR, have been unable to win any exemption for antennas.

Similarly in Germany, Deutsche Telekom is planning to use mobile emergency power systems, typically diesel generators, if there are prolonged power failures. But with 33,000 towers across the country, a spokesperson says they cannot support them all.

Against this background it is no surprise that telcos are starting to take their energy consumption more seriously.

In France, Bouygues Telecom has signed up to Ecowatt, a government-backed initiative that monitors power consumption in real time across France. The aim is to avoid the blackouts by making customers, staff, and partner organisations more aware of energy saving measures, but in the longer term Ecowatt focuses on the climate change problem and states an aim to drive the expansion of the green energy asset portfolio to 10 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2025.

Across the border in Switzerland, Swisscom are looking to further its position as one of the countries most sustainable companies and is joining DETEC’s Energy Saving Alliance. The alliance seeking to secure energy supply this winter through voluntarily taking measures to use energy in a more efficient and sparing manner. For Swisscom this includes reducing indoor and outdoor lighting in shops and offices during the evenings and night and lowering the room temperature in all buildings to a maximum of 20C, as well as seeking to drive greater awareness amongst staff and review usage of buildings and equipment.

However, energy consumption is not just a concern in Europe and not all operators are looking for a short-term fix. In Asia, NTT Docomo and NEC have reported an average 72 percent reduction in power consumption by using AWS Graviton processors in its 5G core network as opposed to incumbent x86 processors. The results are prompting NTT DoCoMo to push ahead with plans for networks in a hybrid cloud environment using AWS Graviton processors designed for energy efficiency to help reduce the carbon footprint of IT networks.

Discover the sustainable leaders of the telecom industry at this years World Communication Awards. Finalists for The Sustainability Award include AsiaInfo, China Unicom Global, Colt Technology Services, KT, Orange Polska, Turkcell, and Vertical Bridge. Join us on the 1 November to see who wins.