Nokia: 5G is 90% more energy efficient than 4G

The findings are based on a three-month study of Radio Access Network (RAN) power consumption in Telefonica’s network

5G networks are up to 90% more efficient than 4G networks, according to a new study conducted by Nokia and Telefonica.

The findings are based on a three-month study of Radio Access Network (RAN) power consumption in Telefonica’s network, using Nokia’s AirScale Base Stations and AirScale Massive MIMO Active Antenna solutions. Both companies are committed to limiting global warming to 1.5C.

The research concluded that, although 5G networks are expected to considerably increase network traffic, this will not lead to a rise in energy consumption at the same rate as when using 4G.

However, in spite of the positive results of the study, Nokia stated more action is needed to increase the energy efficiency of 5G networks, as well as to lower their CO2 emissions. 

The Finnish telecoms giant suggested that combining multiple energy-saving features, such as small cell deployments and new 5G architecture and protocols, have the power to “significantly improve” the energy efficiency of wireless networks.

Nokia’s president of Mobile Networks, Tommi Uitto, said that the company places “huge importance” on “overcoming the world’s sustainability challenges”. The telecom has previously vowed to decrease its operational emissions by 41% by 2030.

“Nokia’s technology is designed to be energy efficient during use but also require less energy during manufacture. This important study highlights how mobile operators can offset energy gains during their rollouts helping them to be more environmentally responsible while allowing them to achieve significant cost savings,” said Uitto.

In August, a report by Telefonica subsidiary O2 found that the application of 5G in areas such as manufacturing, transport and healthcare could see the UK save up to 269 megatonnes of CO2 by 2035.

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According to the company, 5G also has the potential to greatly improve the remote working experience by powering virtual reality meetings and providing high-speed data processing capabilities. The research found that the significant majority (85%-89%) of CO2 reduction will be achieved by 5G enabling more people to work from home effectively.

This would diminish the need to commute to the office, many of which will remain closed through 2021, as well as make business travel a thing of the past.

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