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Mobile Energy Efficiency Benchmarking

With mobile network operators (MNOs) spending around US$ 17 billion on energy use annually, energy efficiency is a strategic priority for them globally. As mobile use expands, so does the demand for energy, particularly by the network infrastructure.

In 2010, the GSMA launched the Mobile Energy Efficiency (MEE) Benchmarking service which helps MNOs measure and monitor the relative efficiency of their radio access networks. It identifies underperforming networks and quantifies the potential efficiency gains available, which are typically around 10-25 per cent across an MNO’s portfolio. 40 MNOs have participated in the service, accounting for more than 200 networks and over half of global mobile subscribers.

The benefits for MNOs include:

  • A detailed analysis of the relative performance of their networks benchmarked against a large dataset
  • A unique ‘normalisation’ analysis which enables a like-for-like comparison of networks whilst maintaining confidentiality as external comparisons are made anonymously
  • Annual participation to track improvements yearly and quantify the impact of cost reduction initiatives
  • Insights to improve energy efficiency, including access to case studies from top performing networks
  • A possible participation in MEE Optimisation projects which identify and implement energy reduction measures
  • Demonstration of positive action on energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction to stakeholders.

The MEE Benchmarking methodology enables consistent evaluation and comparison of network energy efficiency across a range of factors. It normalises for variables outside the energy managers’ control (e.g. population distribution and climate), enabling like-for-like comparison. This adjustment is achieved with multi-variable regression techniques. Energy consumption can be converted into greenhouse gas emissions using country grid electricity and diesel conversion factors to help the mobile industry to lower its emissions per connection in accordance with Mobile’s Green Manifesto 2009.

The MEE service is contributing to the Global eSustainability Initiative Energy Efficiency Inter-Operator Collaboration Group (GeSI EE-IOCG) which is working to develop common ICT industry standards for energy efficiency. In addition, the GSMA is collaborating with the European Commission, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) on standardisation, including methodologies to assess environmental impact. The GSMA’s MEE Benchmarking methodology has been included in a global standard by the ITU, namely Recommendation ITU-T L.1410 ‘Methodology for Environmental Impact Assessment of ICT Goods, Networks and Services’, and the GSMA has contributed to ETSI standard ES 203 228 on assessing the energy efficiency of mobile networks, which was published in April 2015.

If you would like to join the Benchmarking service, please contact mee@gsma.com.


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