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NGMN roadmap for more energy efficient networks

July 2, 2024

The Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance (NGMN) has published Green Future Networks: A Roadmap to Energy Efficient Networks, offering new guidance and recommendations on reducing energy consumption in mobile networks. This roadmap aims to enhance energy-saving methods for MNOs and the wider industry.
This publication outlines 16 different energy saving techniques and intelligent solutions that are currently used or under development in the industry. Supported by real-world data, the publication highlights the energy saving potential of each solution and classifies each by type and by the time needed to develop and deploy them.
“Reducing energy consumption while maintaining service performance is a key ongoing challenge for the industry,” said Arash Ashouriha, Chairman of the NGMN Alliance Board and SVP Group Technology at Deutsche Telekom. “NGMN’s Green Future Networks Programme continues to provide the industry with valuable actionable guidance by pooling the very best of industry knowledge and shaping clear recommendations.”
According to the publication, energy consumption can be reduced through process optimisations, engineering and operational improvements, and the deployment of recent technologies. This is the latest phase of NGMN’s Green Future Networks programme, building on the previous publications that addressed the short-term solutions that mobile network operators (MNOs) could deploy.
The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) to better plan and manage networks and match planned and operational capacity to predicted traffic is a key new addition to a number of the identified solutions. The publication outlines that AI can help estimate energy consumption, AI algorithms can help MNOs make improved energy saving decisions and highlights the importance of identifying low energy efficiency sites.
Laurent Leboucher, Member of the NGMN Alliance Board and Group CTO at Orange, said: “Finding ways to reduce energy consumption and meet our climate goals is of utmost importance to the industry. The solutions span multiple domains: better network planning and engineering, improved network management, the application of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, and the development and use of new technologies. Only by working together and collaborating within industry alliances such as NGMN can we achieve these goals.”
As part of the publication, MNOs are encouraged to share wireless and RAN infrastructure and utilise the network resources to limit energy consumption and carbon emissions. It is also recommended that standards development organisations enhance interworking between mobile networks and energy suppliers as a method to reduce carbon footprints and costs, while maintaining service availability.
“Energy reduction, the use of renewables, and the continued delivery of high quality mobile services are non-negotiable cornerstones of how the mobile industry must operate now and in the future,” added Luke Ibbetson, Member of the NGMN Alliance Board and Head of Group R&D at Vodafone. “Vodafone is proud to have acted as co-lead for this initiative within NGMN and will continue to actively lead and support this important work going forward.”
The publication was developed with input from across the industry, with NGMN Partners representing operators, vendors, and research institutes. NGMN invites all parties across the entire value chain to join the Alliance in this important endeavour, namely Green Future Networks.

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