The three month trial, conducted on Telefonica’s network, showed that the 5G RAN technology is significantly more efficient than legacy tech

In the coming years, data traffic is expected to sky rocket, in part due to the widespread rollout of 5G, which will facilitate new data-hungry technologies like the IoT. Typically, with increased data traffic comes increased energy consumption as the networks battle to handle that data.
But this is not necessarily the case for 5G, with new energy efficiency innovations in the RAN making the technology, in fact, much greener than 4G and other legacy services. 
Now, a new study completed by Telefonica and Nokia has shown them able to lower their energy usage in their 5G network by 90% compared to 4G.
The study, which was conducted on Telefonica’s network over three months, made use of several energy saving software and hardware solutions, monitoring energy usage both on-site and remotely. A range of data traffic scenarios were explored to provide a full overview of 5G’s energy saving capabilities.
“We are committed to supporting action on climate change and engender a sustainable culture throughout our entire company. We are proud to work collaboratively with Nokia on this project and others to address a range of initiatives including driving energy efficiencies in the 5G era,” said Juan Manuel Caro, director of operational transformation at Global CTIO at Telefonica.
Both companies have a combined goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and have been making major progress towards going green in recent years. Back in June, Telefonica accelerated its goal of carbon neutrality, bringing it forward to 2030 from the initially planned date of 2050. Similarly, Nokia hopes to reduce its own carbon footprint by 41% during the same period.
5G may be a natively greener technology than 4G, but the ever increasing data consumption on its networks means that it will be heavily reliant on continued innovation to increase energy efficiency. Luckily, such innovation makes more than just ethical sense for the operators, with the reduced energy consumption set to save them huge sums when it comes to utility bills.
“This important study highlights how mobile operators can offset energy gains during their rollouts helping them to be more environmentally responsible while allowing them to achieve significant cost savings,” said Nokia’s president of mobile networks, Tommi Uitto. 
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