Improved efficiency and use of alternative energy are expected to save almost 60 MtCO2e by 2020.
More than 80% of a typical mobile network operator's energy requirements are associated with operating the network. Technology evolution has delivered greater capacity and higher efficiency. The typical annual CO2 emissions per average GSM subscriber is now about 25kg CO2, which equates to the same emissions created by driving an average European car on the motorway for around one hour.
However, the mobile industry continues to look for ways to reduce energy needs. Air conditioning is being replaced by fans or passive air flows whenever possible. The GSMA Green Power for Mobile program is aiding the mobile industry to deploy solar, wind, or sustainable bio fuels technologies to 118,000 new and existing off-grid base stations in developing countries by 2012.
Network optimisation upgrades currently can reduce energy consumption by 44% and solar-powered base stations could reduce carbon emissions by 80%. Optimisation of the physical network through improved planning and the spectrum allocations for mobile broadband can also contribute to significant energy savings.
To help operators identify energy cost cutting and also carbon emission reduction opportunities in their mobile networks, the GSMA now offers the Mobile Energy Efficiency benchmarking service, which enables operators to compare the energy efficiency of their networks against their peers on a like-for-like basis.