Spotlight on Tech

Why the telecom industry must address its energy consumption

Joshua Gillman
Strategic Initiatives Manager
Rakuten Symphony
February 22, 2023
minute read

Energy consumption has become a significant talking point in telecoms in recent years. A combination of environmental concerns and supply chain shocks causing cost pressures means an ever-increasing urgency exists for operators to cut their energy consumption. 

Few solutions today, if any, tackle this problem holistically. Technology providers have offered energy efficiency solutions for years, but despite this, we still need to see more adoption in the telecom industry. More than siloed individual features are required to move the needle. We must look at the network and industry-wide solutions to achieve real change.

Customer experience and satisfaction will always be the top priority for any operator. Projects, where the change outcome is not understood in the customer experience, will meet resistance until the impact can be foreseen and measured reliably. 

This has been witnessed with energy-saving initiatives, where unused resources are powered down to save energy. If the actual impact on the customer is unknown, the operators' natural inclination is to prioritize the customer and continue running the network at optimum performance. This is where data will be paramount in understanding the impact of running the network (i.e., cell sites and data centers) at a reduced capacity without impacting the customer experience and usage.

At Rakuten Symphony, we want to change this. We propose reimagining how telco operators manage energy consumption, starting with the network.

In recent years, the telco industry has seen significant virtualization, automation and openness developments. Each of these developments has profound implications for managing network energy consumption. For example, automation allows you to deploy energy efficiency policies quickly, virtualization means you can allocate resources better, and openness makes switching to more efficient hardware much more straightforward. Together these factors provide a much more robust platform to materially improve energy efficiency, particularly when combined with the real-time intelligence in modern telco networks. 

"We are building software-centric solutions to deliver real energy and emissions savings for telco networks." 
- Joshua Gillman, Strategic Initiatives Manager, Rakuten Symphony

Our vision is that operators will manage energy with an all-in-one energy orchestration platform built on a foundation of energy intelligence and combining data-driven decision-making with intelligent automation to improve energy efficiency. This efficiency and asset allocation improvement will lower operating costs, delivering real business impact. 

We will be talking about this and more at Mobile World Congress 2023 in Barcelona this month. So come visit us at the Rakuten Booth (#2D46), to learn more.

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