How can CSPs improve
network energy efficiency?
New survey says telco AI is the answer
CSPs say they’re counting on artificial intelligence to cut energy consumption
Communications service providers (CSPs) will support more than 5.3 billion unique mobile subscribers by the end of 2021 according to GSMAi — roughly 70% of the world’s population. That’s going to demand a major expansion and evolution of telco networks, which in turn will make energy-saving strategies increasingly important if CSPs are to meet their sustainability goals and control operating expenses.
Nokia partnered with GSMAi to find out how CSPs plan to achieve their energy-efficiency targets. We surveyed more than 100 mobile service providers worldwide, probing on which technologies hold the most promise and how far along the industry is in adopting energy-efficiency solutions — with a special focus on techniques enabled by artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics.
Download the report to find out what we learned and why growing numbers of CSPs see promise in AI-driven energy-efficiency use cases.
Energy consumption is a key concern, with costs expected to rise over the next three years
Most of the CSPs surveyed indicated that energy efficiency is an integral part of not only their network transformation strategies but also their climate action strategies. That’s why many are concerned that energy is the only major telco operating expense that is expected to increase in the near term.
of CSPs say energy consumption is a major driver of network transformation that will only become more important over time
of CSPs expect energy costs to rise in the next three years — with one-third saying the increase could be 10% or more
AI-driven approaches are seen as most effective for improving energy efficiency of networks
CSPs say adopting renewable energy sources and AI are the most important strategies for reducing their environmental footprint — more effective than innovations in wireless technologies or network modernization.
The majority of CSPs (78%) see AI as very or extremely effective at delivering energy-efficiency improvements. In customer interviews conducted as part of the Nokia–GSMAi survey, CSPs said they believe AI holds the promise of realizing easy and quick wins on telco energy efficiency.
“We see automated capacity management such as shutdowns and sleep modes as a quick win in reducing energy demand. We are doing it in parallel with more transformational initiatives.”
CSP Technical Director, MEA region
CSPs have high hopes for AI-driven energy-efficiency solutions
Survey respondents are optimistic about the impact of AI, with 65% saying the technology could shrink energy consumption by 10% or more. Half of CSPs say that compared to other innovations such as new cooling systems for radio access sites and data centers, AI is likely to progress further as an energy-efficiency solution over time.
"We are strongly embedding energy efficiency throughout our value chain and are keen to develop AI-driven smarter and intelligent networks."
Principal Energy Insights Manager, Europe
CSPs with experience of AI-driven energy efficiency are most optimistic
Forty-one percent (41%) of the mobile operators we surveyed said they are in the initial phase of commercially deploying AI-driven solutions — and consider them fundamental to their energy-efficiency strategies in the next five years. This suggests that early experience builds confidence in AI-based energy-saving solutions, and that there is still a significant opportunity for more CSPs worldwide to seize the potential.
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