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The GSMA says network efficiency can lead to potential annual energy saving of US$2 billion. The organisation made this announcement at the Mobile Asia Expo in Shanghai, where it unveiled an update to its 2009 report Mobile’s Green Manifesto. plant in hand


It outlines the impact of operator initiatives in the areas of energy and carbon management. Analysis of 34 mobile networks worldwide shows that, despite considerable growth in mobile connections and traffic, total network energy consumption increased only slightly from 2009 to 2010.The total energy per unit traffic declined by 20% and energy per connection declined by 5%.


This indicates the industry is making progress toward its goal of reducing total global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per connection by 40% by 2020. “This is the first ever detailed global estimate of mobile network energy consumption and carbon dioxide equivalent emissions and it shows the mobile industry is making progress in reducing its own emissions and energy costs, as well as those in other industry sectors,” says Gabriel Solomon, Head of Regulatory Policy, GSMA.


“Mobile can enable savings through a range of smart applications and can contribute to a reduction of total emissions that is at least four to five times its own carbon footprint.” The report used data and analysis from the GSMA’s Mobile Energy Efficiency Benchmarking (MEE) service to calculate both the energy costs and the carbon dioxide emissions that result from the electricity and diesel consumption of mobile networks globally.


The MEE Benchmarking analysis shows if all networks with above average energy consumption are improved to the industry average, there is a potential energy cost saving for mobile operators of $1 billion per annum at 2010 prices; improving to the top quartile could save over $2 billion annually. Smartphones, tablets, consumer electronics and machine-to-machine (M2M) devices are beginning to connect everything from cars to health services and even entire cities, which will have a positive impact on many industries.


Through these and other developments, the mobile industry is enabling reductions in GHG emissions and energy costs across a range of sectors of the economy, and the opportunity exists for mobile to enable even further savings. Approximately 26 million mobile M2M connections worldwide are enabling GHG emissions savings estimated to be about 3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

On a regional basis:

  • The US and Canada together comprise 50 percent of mobile M2M connections and 38 per cent of global GHG emissions savings;
  • Asia Pacific accounts for 23 percent of M2M connections and 30 percent of emissions savings; and
  • Western Europe represents 17 percent of connections and 23 percent of GHG savings.

Future savings come from smart applications, often as a result of M2M communications, particularly in applications such as smart grids and meters, as well as smart transportation and logistics. The mobile industry has the potential to contribute to an abatement of man-made GHG emissions.

In the future, there is a significant environmental and commercial opportunity for mobile operators to help companies in other sectors and industries to both reduce their GHG emissions and cut energy costs, for example:

  • Global mobile M2M connections in smart grids, smart meters and fleet management are forecast to grow strongly, at 30 to 40 percent per annum, reaching approximately 100 million mobile M2M connections worldwide by 2015.
  • Mobile has the potential to enable much greater emissions savings of at least 900 Mt carbon dioxide in 2020, which is 1.7 percent of the global 2020 GHG emissions forecast by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Emissions savings in 2020 will result from the use of 3.5 billion mobile M2M connections and also from mobile dematerialisation applications, where travel, products and processes are substituted by virtual alternatives.


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