5G telecom vendors — like the 5G telecom carriers profiled in a Sept. 9 eDigest story — are stepping up their green initiatives to meet the power-hungry demands of 5G base stations, which can consume up to three times more power than 4G and LTE networks.
Telecom manufacturers such as Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and Huawei have invested heavily in green energy programs during the last few years.
“Can we rollout 5G and reduce energy consumption?” Ericsson asks on its Twitter page. “The answer is yes. It is possible to break the energy curve. We see this as an opportunity to rethink how to build, operate and manage networks in a smarter and more strategic way. It is not only an option it is an industry responsibility. The report presents how to reduce energy consumption of mobile networks, as well as solutions to manage mobile broadband traffic growth including 5G roll-outs.”
Ericsson estimates the global energy cost of running mobile networks is about $25 billion yearly, making energy consumption one of the wireless industry’s biggest challenges — Huawei from both cost and carbon footprint perspectives.
A supporter of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and an active member of the Exponential Roadmap initiative, Ericsson has invested in solar power and other alternative energies. According to an Ericsson blog written by Saud Saya, site product and portfolio director at business area networks, “Ericsson acknowledges the energy challenges, costs and associated emissions that our industry is currently facing and is playing a leading role in addressing them through site products and solution innovations. These include industry best practices and designs, which enable service providers to build and deploy 5G with safety, simplicity and cost effectiveness front of mind.”
Meanwhile, Nokia’s website says the company is on a journey to a greener world. “Our aim is that every new product is more energy efficient than the previous model,” the website reads. “Nokia is using renewable energy in its own operations wherever available. For example, our operations in Finland are powered 100 percent by renewable energy sources.”
Nokia’s website features this statement: “80 percent of a mobile network’s energy is consumed by base station sites. Mobile operators report an increase of 10 to 30 percent annually in mobile network energy use. For example, the addition of LTE to existing GSM/WCDMA base station sites accounts for a 20 percent increase in energy consumption. Nokia’s zero emission site can cut the energy consumption of such sites by 70 percent.”
In July 2021, Aron Heller, lead writer and editor at Nokia Cloud and Network Services, posted an article discussing the importance of sustainability in the 5G market. “The telecom industry has had a long reputation of being wasteful,” the article reads. “But as climate change continues to worsen, sustainability has become a major corporate driving force with companies investing heavily in boosting productivity without further taxing the planet. Judging by revenue, more than a third of the mobile industry has already credibly committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 or before.”
Meanwhile, Samsung has a won a number of the EPA’s Energy Star program awards, including the 2020 Energy Star Partner of the Year Sustained Excellence Award for continued leadership and superior contributions to the EPA’s Energy Star program. The award recognizes EPA partner businesses and organizations in good standing that demonstrate superior leadership, innovation, and commitment to environmental protection through energy efficiency and Energy Star.
Samsung, which manufacturers most of its products domestically in South Korea, has closer ties to the United States than its European rivals Nokia and Ericsson — both of which have significant manufacturing operations in China. Furthermore, Samsung purchases 100 percent renewable energy in the United States,
In July 2021, Samsung launched its SmartThings Energy, a new service within its app that allows consumers to take control of their energy consumption with monitoring, target-setting and notifications of its Samsung appliances and HVAC systems. By improving consumers’ household energy IQ, SmartThings Energy has the power to reduce monthly energy bills and contribute to a lower carbon footprint.
“People are spending more time at home and using their appliances more frequently, driving a need for larger capacity and better energy efficiency,” said Chanwoo Park, vice president and head of IoT business group at Samsung Electronics. “Our consumers want to be part of building a better, more ecofriendly tomorrow, and we are proud to help them achieve that vision by offering a more energy-efficient smart home experience.”
Huawei International, a China-based multinational designer and developer of telecommunications equipment and consumer electronics, said it is “working to build a greener, better and smarter world.” On Aug, 27, Huawei said it gathered the sharpest minds and impactful voices at Huawei Digital Power Summit 2021 Singapore to engage in conversations on creating a future where energy and technological innovation go hand in hand to create a sustainable ecosystem. Foo Fang Yong, CEO of Huawei International, said, “Huawei will mark its 20th anniversary in Singapore with core products and initiatives designed to push industry standards, systems integration and more.”
Terry Gao, managing director of Huawei Digital Power Singapore, said, “Like many nations across the globe, Singapore has outlined its future roadmap towards net-zero emissions, and Huawei’s commitment to energy transformation will play a pivotal role. A significant component of this transformation is made possible with digitalization. For digitization to be successful, we need more efficient data centers to be powered sufficiently and reliably. The establishing of Huawei Digital Power will allow Singapore to push ahead with more support as power digitalization takes shape.”
Mike Harrington is a contributing editor.