Press Releases · Articles · 2022-10-13

Telcos, Sustainability and AI: An AI Software Approach to Green Transformation

Telcos, Sustainability and AI: An AI Software Approach to Green Transformation

The telecom industry is rapidly decarbonizing. Telcos are reducing carbon emissions from their operations through their ambition to get close to Net Zero. Taking actions to achieve Net Zero targets now is more important than ever to decrease dependence on not renewable energy sources.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned telecom operators to make a commitment to realize a Net Zero program and reach net zero by 2050 at the latest. 

As mobile data traffic continues to grow dramatically with the rise of LTE smartphones and the expansion of 5G, energy consumption is subsequently increasing. 

Sustained cost pressures and commitments to net zero have made energy efficiency a strategic priority and a challenge for many telecom operators worldwide. 

Sustainability is now underlying how operators design and modify networks. Also, several barriers could hold back the industry's progress towards Net Zero by 2050.  

In this article, we will review how to address carbon-neutral targets and how Tupl's AI automation solution helps mobile operators make a step forward towards green transformation.  

Good momentum for green energy 

In 2022 GSMA published a report that shows how the industry continues to align around the 1.5°C decarbonisation pathway. Due to that data, 50 European and American operators (63% of the industry by revenue and 44% by connections) have committed to rapidly cutting their emissions over the next decade. Most operators in Asia, Africa, and Latin America have not yet committed to a target and will continue to experience emissions pressures over the next decade.

According to McKinsey research, telecom operators are often one of the most energy-intensive companies in a region and they account for 2-3% of total global energy demand. Operators’ energy consumption expands, consequently expanding the carbon footprint, hurting not just the environment but also their reputation as a socially responsible company.

Now, many mobile operators are announcing their carbon neutrality strategies, which consist of minimizing carbon emissions (commitment to energy efficiency) and creating a circular economy - switching to renewables (recycling, re-manufacturing or reusing the equipment, etc.). 

How can AI power saving software bring down energy costs?  

The mobile industry emphasized significant attention to energy efficiency and network power-saving optimization. Every year more and more data are being transferred, and with the evolution of 2G to 3G, 4G, and now 5G technologies, more and more energy is spent than ever before.  

AI-driven shutdown and sleep solutions in the RAN can be particularly impactful. By deploying artificial intelligence right at the pulse of the network, communications service providers can proactively realize energy efficiencies on the radio network. 

Typically, a radio access network (RAN) accounts for about 60 percent of the power used at a mobile site (Mc Kinsey). Data-traffic loads are intermittent, so different parts of RAN can be put briefly into sleep mode, even during peak traffic.  

AI expands the potential for such energy-saving opportunities across the network. The ability to analyze vast amounts of data relating to traffic patterns, real-time demand, and network-resource availability allows for quick, automated decisions on the parts of the system that can be put into sleep mode or shut down. According to Omdia's research, only 16% of operators take advantage of embedded software functionality to reduce power consumption (most of them still do not use power-saving features.) 

Based on Tupl (2021, 2022) results from real networks, this is how a RAN network typically behaves for energy consumption vs the traffic payload curve. The opportunity for savings is clear - while the traffic volume reduces by 75%-80% (peak vs lowest hours), the energy consumption observed by accurate RAN counters only reduces by 15%-20%. The opportunity for AI power saving is opening at a minimum of 6-7% and reaches up to 15%-20%, depending on the number of factors.

Mobile operators are looking for a power-saving solution with specific requirements, but among the main is the guarantee of no impact on the customer experience, significant manual efforts optimisation, and actual power-saving effect. 

Among other requirements are the following: having a transparent system where engineers can verify the AI-based decisions; having a system to detect anomalies, automatic actuation scripts for activation/deactivation of the power-saving features; having a solution that operates in a multi-vendor and multi-technology environment, etc. 

Artificial Intelligence predicts the traffic behaviour, defining the activation/deactivation of sleep mode functionality and site energy management without impacting the Quality of Experience (QoE) and the overall performance.  

Now AI power-saving software is reaching the market and has the potential to be embedded in the cellular networks of many MNOs and significantly increase energy performance.

If you want to know more about Tupl's solution for energy saving – Power Saving Advisor, benefits, and its functionality – review the whitepaper, and visit our webpage.

Summary  

Committing to greener telecom networks is challenging but rewards in opportunities. 

The telecommunication industry started to consider energy efficiency seriously and take steps to reduce carbon emissions from their operations through their ambition to get close to the Net Zero strategy. 

Sustainability has become a strategic priority and a challenge for many telecom operators worldwide due to increased costs and commitments to Net Zero. 

As energy efficiency has become one of the top priorities for more than 85% of operator network buyers, AI expands the potential for energy-saving opportunities across the network and will be the key technology enabling power savings. 

AI automation software will catalyze mobile operators, helping them step forward in the green transformation. With no impact on customers' experience, 90% manual effort reduction, and up to 25% of energy savings - AI-based solutions are available on the market for immediate implementation. And the operators that do not invest in green transformation now are at risk in their long-term competitiveness strategy. 

Let's enable the opportunity for digital transformation now!  Book a demo with Tupl, and we will provide you with more details about our applied experience in your particular industry.

References: 

1.     “Telecom Energy Efficiency: Capping Electricity Usage Through Mobile Network Modernization”, Omdia, (March 2021)

2.     https://www.nokia.com/blog/reduce-your-networks-energy-consumption-with-ai-and-deliver-the-best-customer-experience/

3.     https://www.ngmn.org/wp-content/uploads/210719_NGMN_GFN_Sustainability-Challenges-and-Initiatives_v1.0.pdf

4.     https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/technology-media-and-telecommunications/our-insights/the-case-for-committing-to-greener-telecom-networks

5.     https://www.nokia.com/blog/reduce-your-networks-energy-consumption-with-ai-and-deliver-the-best-customer-experience/

6.     https://data.gsmaintelligence.com/api-web/v2/research-file-download?id=72941652&file=300622-Mission-Sustainable.pdf

7.     https://lightreading-images.s3.us-east-1.amazonaws.com/5gexchange/downloads/220125-GFN-Metering-White-Paper-v1.0.pdf

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