5G is great for smartphone users and the tech industry at large, but one thing it’s potentially not so great for is the environment. Vodafone though is working to minimise the impact of 5G use, and has successfully deployed a new Ericsson-made 5G radio that led to an average of 43% less daily energy consumption.
At off-peak times it decreased by as much as 55%, and while these numbers obviously only apply to energy used by this unit, Vodafone plans to deploy 1,500 of these units (dubbed the AIR 3227) by April 2022.
These units are lighter and more compact than typical 5G radio solutions, yet they don’t compromise when it comes to performance, and by deploying so many, Vodafone will be well on its way to achieving its goal of net-zero for its UK operations by 2027.
These units being smaller and lighter will also make 5G upgrades quicker and easier according to Vodafone, so they sound like a great investment.
Drones and spectrum
This isn’t all Vodafone is doing to reduce its environmental impact though, as the network has also announced that – again in partnership with Ericsson – the company has been trialling drone technology. Specifically, it has been sending drones to remote and hard to reach locations to collect data and imagery, rather than sending multiple engineers.
And the network has already revealed that it’s 100% powered by renewable sources, so it seems to be taking environmental improvements seriously.
Finally, Vodafone has in the same breath stated that it’s moving 10MHz of 900MHz spectrum that was previously used for 3G services to 4G.
That’s less relevant to us here, except that the network claims that when the time comes this spectrum can be switched to 5G with just a software upgrade, so it should be easy to do, and will likely happen once 5G coverage and demand is high enough to warrant the switch. We’d expect much of Vodafone’s other spectrum will also be switched to 5G eventually.