It is estimated that Apple will sell up to 100 million units of the new Iphone 5. It is no surprise therefore that telecommunications network operators are facing a challenging balancing act between servicing rapidly growing subscriber bases with increased mobile data requirements and publicly pledging to reduce capital and operating expenditures, as well as greenhouse gas emissions.
To achieve these goals, operators are working to reduce energy-related expenses, increase operational efficiency, reduce costs associated with network deployments, and increase their utilization of clean energy sources.
According to a recent report from Pike Research, a part of Navigant’s Energy Practice, investment in energy-efficient telecom network infrastructure will reach $194 billion annually by 2016.
The study concludes that through these investments, the telecom industry could potentially reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 32 per cent by 2016 compared to a business-as-usual model.
The Asia Pacific region is leading the way, with the region predicted to account for 55 per cent of the total green mobile telecom globally.
The rapid advancement of renewable technologies, including solar and wind energy, combined with a reduction in both deployment and unit costs will bolster this trend.
In developing countries, where there is an increasing need for off-grid base stations as operators look to target remote rural areas, the opportunity for green powered solutions is particularly high. Solar power is forecast to be the predominant technology with the price of photovoltaic modules dropping significantly in recent years.
The Pike Research report focuses on the direct impact of green technologies and practices as applied to telecommunications networks. Market drivers and business decisions that drive the usage and implementation of green practices across fixed and mobile networks are specifically addressed. In addition, quantitative market forecasts through 2016 are provided to describe the effects of these green technologies and practices on operational and environmental costs.
“Though most sustainability efforts by the telecom industry to date have focused on procuring clean sources of power, the range of options is expanding rapidly, particularly in the area of energy efficiency,” says research director Eric Woods. “Vendors are responding by taking a holistic approach to green telecom by offering more than just technological advances. Services such as network and site planning can also reduce the energy needed to run a network, and adequate take-back programs for legacy equipment are becoming requirements for most contracts.”