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Can AI bring down network energy costs?

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New AI-powered energy management solutions claim to use advanced data analytics to meet rising data demands, while lowering operational and capital expenditure. A new AI-powered opportunity or simply too good to be true? Find out below.

Head of Network Managed Services

Ericsson Radio Site System macro rooftop

Head of Network Managed Services

Head of Network Managed Services

Data volumes in mobile networks are increasing at an unprecedented rate. In our latest mobility report, we forecast that mobile data traffic will grow fourfold by 2025, reaching up to 160 exabytes (EB) per month.

This is amazing of course and offers all kinds of opportunities for communications service providers, but there is also a potential downside to this rapid surge in data traffic: its impact on the energy consumption and carbon footprint of mobile networks.

That’s not the only downside for communications service providers, as it also raises a significant cost concern.

The energy consumption of today’s networks accounts for 10 percent of annual operation expenditure (OPEX). As we found in our AI report, the demand to reduce operational costs already ranks among the top priorities for today’s operators. With the deployment of 5G and a spike in data traffic forecast, suddenly this demand becomes even more relevant.

Therefore, the obvious question which many are asking is: what happens next?

Breaking the curve of product energy performance

AI-powered solutions can help service providers to break the energy curve while meeting rising data traffic demands

Here at Ericsson, we have worked hard for many years to be in a position where we can say that it is possible to break the energy curve. For many years, this has been one of the focuses of our portfolio development.

Today, communications service providers now have the opportunity to lower total energy consumption across their networks. However, what makes this truly remarkable is that, in doing so, service providers can still continue to meet the massive traffic growth that is expected in coming years.

Using intelligence to break the energy curve

How is this achievable, especially when we consider that mobile data traffic looks likely to quadruple by 2025? The introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) in mobile networks in recent years holds part of the answer.

In recent years, based on advanced data analytics, AI has gradually been making a breakthrough across telecom markets; a primary example being security management. Today, the focus of network intelligence is moving into another area, namely, to enable the reduction of energy consumption across the network. One area where it will make a big impact and where most savings can potentially be made is in the management of network operations.

By deploying artificial intelligence right at the pulse of the network, communications service providers can realize energy efficiencies on the radio network proactively. It offers the potential to not only address site-related energy savings, but also operational efficiencies. For example, to reduce the number of site visits to increase the efficiency of resources and reduce operational CO2 emissions.

Woman doing a tower climb ERS equipment

Through AI-powered network energy management, service providers have been found to reduce operation costs and site visits by up to 15 percent

Ericsson’s AI-powered infrastructure operations

We know all of this because we’re trialing similar technologies across live networks today. What is more, we see exactly how they are contributing to reduced OPEX and CAPEX.

Recently, Ericsson launched its very first service offering in this area, and likely the very first offering of its kind on the market. 

The new Energy Infrastructure Operations (EIO) is an energy management solution that uses artificial intelligence and advanced data analytics to optimize energy consumption across the entire network infrastructure.

And what of the results for communications service providers?

The AI-powered solution has already been trialed across customers in Europe, Asia, Middle East and Latin America and is live today in Telenor Myanmar’s network.

Already we see that, through the use of artificial intelligence and advanced analytics, communications service providers can achieve an approximate 15 percent reduction of energy-related OPEX, an approximate 15 percent reduction in site visits related to passive infrastructure, and an approximate 30 percent reduction in energy-related outages.

Learn more about the benefits of AI-powered energy management in our latest live stream.

Already today, the demands are beginning to stack up for communications service providers to not only reduce their operational carbon footprint, but also operational and capital expenditures (CAPEX). Addressing these direct challenges, AI-powered energy management solutions look certain to be rolled out incrementally across communications service providers in coming years. At Ericsson, we have taken the first step.

Read more

Learn more about the Ericsson’s AI-powered Energy Infrastructure Operations.

Find out how telecom can benefit from artificial intelligence in the Ericsson AI report.

Read the latest mobile data forecasts in the Ericsson Mobility Report.

Explore telecom AI

Explore AI in networks

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