Operators fear 5G will increase energy costs
Telecommunication operators are optimistic about the future services 5G will enable, but over 90% also fear it will result in much higher energy costs, according to new research.
Most of the survey respondents (88%) are planning to deploy 5G in 2021–2022. However, many operators are concerned about rising energy costs and are interested in technologies and services that improve efficiency. This is consistent with internal analysis by Vertiv which found 5G is likely to increase network energy consumption by 150–170% by 2026, with the largest increases in macro, node and network data centre areas.
Danny Wong, Senior Director for Telecoms at Vertiv in Asia, said it is understandable that operators have concerns when it comes to deploying this technology. “It is critical for operators to have the right infrastructure in place that would allow them to roll out 5G in the most efficient manner. By understanding the different use cases as outlined by Vertiv, and with the aid of the 451 Research survey, it is our hope that they can make informed decisions when it comes to investing in their critical infrastructure.”
Regarding edge and 5G specifically, the survey revealed that 37% of operators have deployed and 47% plan to deploy edge computing that is aligned with mobile infrastructure, or multi-access edge computing (MEC).
“The two toughest connectivity challenges for supporting 5G topologies were revealed to be upgrading access and aggregation layer networks and adding new backhaul links,” said Brian Partridge, Research Vice President for 451 Research. “Survey respondents indicated that the availability of high-quality connectivity to distributed POPs and ease of site acquisition were viewed as the most critical enablers to 5G success. We were frankly surprised by some of these results and believe it brings clarity to the level of transformation the industry now faces.”
More than 90% of respondents reported they are either extremely or moderately interested in Energy Savings as a Service (ESaaS), which could help mitigate the potential obstacles to 5G adoption.
The findings were released at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
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