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Can a telecom operator become green?

Post on Energy Efficiency, Renewable Power, and Carbon Emissions Reductions for Fixed and Mobile Telecommunications Networks.

Energy consumption is one of the leading drivers of operating expenses for both fixed and mobile network operators. Reliable access to electricity is limited in many developing countries that are currently the high-growth markets for telecommunications. Click to enlarge

At the same time, many operators have adopted corporate social responsibility initiatives with a goal of reducing their networks' carbon footprints, and network infrastructure vendors are striving to gain competitive advantage by reducing the power requirements of their equipment. All of these factors will continue to converge over the next several years, creating significant market potential for greener telecom networks.

Click to enlarge

These market drivers are manifesting themselves in several ways within the global telecom industry. The large equipment vendors are creating highly efficient network elements that consume far less power than in previous hardware generations. Operators and vendors alike are exploring innovative network architectures and topologies that will support more capacity with fewer infrastructures. And the entire industry is working to incorporate renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power, particularly for off-grid mobile base stations in developing countries where the vast majority of subscriber additions will occur over the next five years.

We are currently working to provide a detailed examination of the opportunities and challenges associated with improving the energy efficiency of fixed and mobile telecom networks, as well as utilizing renewable power sources such as solar photovoltaics, wind energy, and fuel cells.

These assignments provide a detailed business case along with an in-depth examination of telecom operator’s motivations (mainly, emission reduction action plan to meet green policies compliancy, EBITDA improvement and Infrastructure’s cost optimization & reduction) for deploying greener networks.

I will soon post a detailed case study on this. In the meanwhile, let me share some key questions that any telecom operator should address if considering a carbon strategy project:

  • What factors should be taken into account when identifying, planning and implementing alternative energy systems for communication infrastructures?
  • How big can be the financial upside when executing carbon reduction initiatives (either on the cost and revenues levels)?
  • What would be the EBITDA impact in a 5 years plan? What would be the business case for green telecom, and what components have the most impact on ROI?
  • What regulatory and non-regulatory bodies are involved in green telecom, and what is their role?

Interesting, right? Stay tuned for our next Energy Efficiency, Renewable Power, and Carbon Emissions Reductions for Fixed and Mobile Telecommunications Networks case.

Best, CVA, Flying to Jeddah.