Ericsson and Vodafone 5G trial cuts network energy consumption in half

Vodafone UK intends to deploy 1,500 of the new Ericsson radios across its network by April 2022

Ericsson last year warned in a report that 5G has the potential to “dramatically increase” energy consumption, arguing that is “an industry responsibility” to address this reality. This week, Ericsson did its part, installing a new antenna-integrated radio solution (AIR 3227) on the roof of Speechmark, Vodafone UK’s central London office that, according to the vendor, reduced the site’s daily network energy consumption by an average of 43% in direct comparison to previous generations of radio technology, and as much as 55% at off-peak times.

“Sustainability is central to Ericsson’s purpose,” commented Björn Odenhammar, CTO of networks and managed services for Ericsson U.K. and Ireland, “and our new radio will help Vodafone to reduce network energy consumption, simplify network rollout and efficiently manage the expected growth in data traffic of both current and future 5G networks.”

The vendor’s new radio comes in at 51% lighter and more compact than previous designs. It also has improved energy management features.

“Our strategy is simple; turn off anything we don’t need, replace legacy equipment with up-to-date alternatives and use the most energy efficient options available. The success of this trial allows us to explore new ways we can more effectively manage the energy consumption of our network with our partner Ericsson,” said Andrea Dona, chief network officer of Vodafone UK. “There is no silver bullet to manage our network energy consumption – it is about putting sustainability at the heart of every decision and adding up all the small gains to make a material difference.”

Vodafone UK intends to deploy 1,500 of these new radios across its network by April 2022. The carrier first deployed commercial 5G services in 2019 with the help of Ericsson, and this past June, deployed 5G standalone (SA) trials in London, Manchester and Cardiff.

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