Vodafone & Ericsson trial energy-efficient 5G radio
Written by: Richard Hook | Published:
Outside shot of glass-fronted Vodafone offices Vodafone's Speechmark office was opened in London in 2019 (credit: Vodafone)

Ericsson and Vodafone have completed the first deployment of a new energy-efficient 5G radio in London as part of a collaboration to halve network energy performance.

The controlled deployment of Ericsson’s antenna-integrated radio solution, the AIR 3227, at Vodafone’s Speechmark offices in London saw the mobile operator’s daily network energy consumption decrease by up to 55% at off-peak times.

Following the completion of the trial, 1,500 of the new radios will now be deployed across Vodafone’s network by April 2022. The duo claim this will help to reduce Vodafone’s forecasted energy consumption of its future 5G network and “support a sustainable and responsible 5G rollout”.

Andrea Dona, chief network officer at Vodafone UK, said: “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. 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 has set a target to achieve net-zero for its UK operations by 2027. The company has also been teaming with Ericsson to trial sending drones to remote and hard to reach locations to collect data and imagery, rather than sending multiple engineers in a further initiative to reduce its environmental impact.

Björn Odenhammar, chief technology officer at Ericsson UK, said: “Sustainability is central to Ericsson’s purpose 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. Together we are building the 5G network of the future – one that delivers the highest possible performance with improved resource efficiency and low environmental impacts.”

Ericsson and Vodafone UK teamed up to launch commercial 5G services in 2019. Earlier this year, the Swedish company was chosen to deliver Vodafone’s entire cloud-native 5G Core Standalone for packet core applications.

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