Telcos Going Green: Dialing Up an Integrated Sustainability Strategy

Meeting net-zero goals will require end-through-end visibility that enables carriers to set sustainability-specific KPI priorities.

5G in white

Going green isn’t just a socially responsible thing for telcos to do—it’s economical too. A recent Deloitte study found that energy consumption constitutes 20 to 40 percent of a carrier’s operating costs. As customers, partners, shareholders, and regulators increasingly expect companies across the business spectrum to embrace sustainable practices, many telcos are developing strategies to meet net-zero goals.

The rollout of 5G networks does offer some sustainability advantages. One study found that 5G networks can be as much as 90 percent more efficient than comparable 4G networks. However, 5G networks ultimately will consume more energy due to the increased network density, dependence on complex IT infrastructure, and much higher volumes of network data traffic. In fact, expansion of 5G is anticipated to lead to a significant rise in data as enterprise and consumer adoption of applications and services continues to grow dramatically. The latest predictions suggest widespread use of 5G will result in a 160 percent increase in power demands by 2030, which has broad implications for sustainability.

Implementing Energy-Efficient Best Practices

As more and more enterprises look to improve sustainability value propositions within their business practices, many are seeing adoption of 5G-enabled services as a means of achieving important efficiencies that lead to a reduction in consumption and emissions. This presents an opportunity for telcos. 40 percent of organizations in a recent survey indicated energy efficiency should be the first or second priority when carriers roll out 5G networks. The same survey found that 56 percent feel telcos could become highly credible “green” partners in the future.

Attaining energy and cost reductions will require telcos to evaluate network operations across their entire infrastructure to ensure everything is optimized. For industry-leading carriers, net-zero strategies already have targeted the areas most ripe for improvement. Now, integrating sustainability throughout the entire organization to make incremental but no less important gains is the next logical step. This will require best practices aimed at key areas of the ecosphere, such as:

  • Network technology: Deploy hardware and software designed to operate efficiently
  • Infrastructure: Maximize your infrastructure, considering the impact of edge data centers and cloud environments
  • Visibility: Attain end-through-end visibility by using next-gen solutions to measure, monitor, improve, and automate the network

Telcos will want to take a holistic view of the infrastructure, associating key performance indicators (KPIs) to individual business units to prioritize net-zero efforts. To embed a sustainability mindset across the business, it will be essential for carriers to have accurate metrics so they can fully understand the best way to implement their strategy.

Gaining Visibility Is Key to Setting Sustainability-Specific KPI Priorities

End-through-end visibility is the key to setting sustainability-specific KPI priorities. NETSCOUT’s best-in-class solution is uniquely qualified to provide network visibility, enabling telcos to monitor traffic levels and analyze applications for KPIs related to responsiveness, errors, conversations, and service dependencies by market, through each layer of the network down to cell sites and subscribers. Armed with these invaluable insights, telcos can put themselves in a better position to make informed business decisions related to sustainability goals.

Achieving sustainability and power efficiency goals is no small task for telcos, but putting a strategy in place will be essential to setting priorities for greater sustainability and power efficiency—without compromising performance and quality of service.

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