European telcos need to pull three key levers to address the 5G energy issue

Rising energy prices focus the mind
The rapid increase in global energy prices since the turn of 2022 — sharply affected by the Russia-Ukraine War since February — has pointed an even greater spotlight on 5G energy and sustainability. At this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, major wireless equipment vendors such as Ericsson, Huawei, and Nokia highlighted 5G portfolio announcements that emphasized the generation’s superior energy efficiency and sustainability, and indeed, recent IDC conversations with European CSPs underlined the fact that energy efficiency is a top priority for most network operations executives.

5G networks are incredibly high-performance systems that can serve wireless bandwidth of up to 1 Gbps at ultra-low response rates (latency) of less than 20ms to thousands of densely connected devices (phones, things, machines). This massive performance uplift versus 4G is achieved with a powerful 5G RAN infrastructure that can include densely packed 64x or 128x massive MIMO (mMIMO) antennas (by comparison…

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