The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has urged Mobile Networks Operators (MNOs) in Nigeria to implement energy-saving measures that will empower telecom consumers in the face of the ongoing energy crisis caused by supply and climate issues.
Giving a remark at the 2023 World Consumer Rights Day with the theme “Empowering Consumers through Clean Energy Transition” held in Abuja yesterday, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, noted that given Nigeria’s recent licensing of the 5G spectrum networks, which consume twice as much energy as 4Gs, it has become expedient for MNOs to look for green and sustainable power solutions required for the connectivity of IoT devices and network optimisation.
“This anticipated growth in the number of 5G coverage will trigger high demand for data services which will result in increased energy consumption for the network infrastructure especially the Base Transceiver Stations (BTS), Internet of Things (IoT), 5G Customer Premise Equipment (CPEs) and mobile devices for example. This requires the industry to look for green and sustainable power solutions required for the connectivity of IoT devices and network optimization,” he said.
Some of the energy-efficiency measures, according to Prof. Danbatta include the redesign of the Radio Access Networks (RAN) of Base Stations which were initially built to maximise connectivity, not energy efficiency.
He argued that over 75% of the time, the radio base station resources remain unused because of the hardware components activated at all times to transmit system information and synchronisation and reference signals. Therefore, to avoid waste heat, some of 5G’s newest RAN is equipped with an energy-saving measure allowing for the automatic switching of components. Some other energy efficiency measures can also include the use of renewable energy sources (hydrogen, wind, solar etc.) to supply the energy needed.
All over the globe, telecom companies are among the most significant energy users, as a result of the stiff industry competition which causes them to try to satisfy their consumers by providing higher-speed networks. With the rising utility costs, it is critical for companies to reconsider the sustainability of their operations by lowering the operational impact on the environment. This is more so because it has been found that implementing energy efficiency measures could potentially reduce the operating costs of telcos by up to 20%.
Meanwhile, as a responsive organization, the Nigerian Communications Commission has been proactive in responding to the realities and challenges posed by the impact of using fossil fuels as a power source in the telecommunications industry.
Owing to the overall energy challenges of the nation, the fifty-four (54) thousand BTS scattered across the country depend on diesel generators with the attendant noise and environmental pollution. Some BTS operate on diesel generators for 24 hours across seven days of the week in some locations. Therefore, transitioning to a renewable energy source like solar power will significantly reduce the menace of pollution from individually-powered generators. This will be zero carbon emission from the BTS just as noise pollution would be a thing of the past.