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Vodafone and Ericsson demo enhanced energy-efficiency for 5G

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Vodafone and Ericsson have achieved a 43% reduction in energy consumption during a 5G trial in London.

The reduction is compared to the typical energy use for 5G equipment and networks, which itself is widely reported to be up to 90% more energy efficient per traffic unit than legacy 4G networks.

Back in November of last year, Vodafone – along with Telefónica and Verizon – was praised for its progress on reducing caron dioxide emissions.

However, this feat was Ericsson's as the trial was the first deployment of a new 5G radio that reduces energy consumption by a daily average of 43%, and as much as 55% at off-peak times.

The Ericsson antenna-integrated radio solution – aka the AIR 3227 – was deployed on the roof of Vodafone’s Speechmark office, in Southwark, Central London.

Vodafone will now deploy 1,500 of the new units by April 2022, enabling what it described as "an environmentally responsible 5G deployment strategy".

Andrea Dona, chief network officer, Vodafone UK, said: “Our strategy is simple; turn off anything we don’t need, modernise our network where possible, and use the most energy efficient options available without compromising the service we deliver to our customers. 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 for managing 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.”

Designed for future-proof and sustainable networks, the new radio is also 51% lighter than the previous generation and its more compact design and improved energy management features "will help to minimise overall site footprint, making 5G rollout and 4G upgrades quicker and easier", Vodafone said.

Björn Odenhammar, CTO, networks & managed services, Ericsson UK and Ireland, said: “Building on the success of an award-winning 5G network in London, it is another fantastic achievement for Vodafone and Ericsson to reduce network energy consumption by a daily average of 43%. Sustainability is central to Ericsson’s purpose and our industry-leading new radios 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.”