The mobile operators' industry body, the GSMA, has announced a benchmarking service to help operators track their mobile network carbon footprints and compare them with their peers. By Ian Scales.
The GSMA says the Mobile Energy Efficiency (MEE) service should, if nothing else, help the mobile industry lower its annual energy bill (estimated at a heart-stopping US$35 billion) as well as reduce carbon emissions.
While the mobile industry has clearly been successfully stingy power-wise with handsets, the network itself is a power gobbler, responsible for around 80 per cent of the industry's entire consumption and representing one of the biggest operational costs.
The overall green goal for the industry, the GSMA claims, is to lower greenhouse gas emissions per connection by 40 per cent by 2020, and the benchmarking service is a way of steering individual operators towards their goals by comparing their performance in different areas of energy consumption with that of their peer operators.
The benchmarks were developed in cooperation with China Mobile, Telefónica and Telenor and were challenging to formulate because of the diversity of conditions faced by operators on a global basis. This, says the GSMA, made it challenging to make meaningful comparisons. For instance, GSMA says in today's press release, operators tend to incorporate different technologies, use different types of power, or are located in countries with different population densities, geographies and climates.
The MEE methodology tries to “normalise” or adjust the energy key performance indicators (KPIs) for factors outside an MNO’s control in order to make different networks comparable. So the methodology focuses on operational energy consumption and not on other lifecycle energy measures such as embedded energy in equipment.
After this normalisation, it is possible to see which networks are over or under-performing in terms of energy consumption and management, and where there might be significant potential to reduce energy costs and emissions.
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