Telenor embraces AI for greener and smarter networks

  • AI continues to dominate the telecom developments landscape
  • Telenor keeps pushing ahead with ambitions to become an AI-first telco
  • It has picked Ericsson to test and develop ‘cutting-edge’ AI and machine learning (ML) solutions
  • The goal is to improve the performance and the energy efficiency of its networks

Telenor has made further strides towards becoming an AI-first telco with plans to develop AI and machine learning (ML) solutions for network performance and energy management enhancements. The telco signed a three-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Ericsson, which will see the pair focus on exploring, developing and testing solutions powered by AI and ML that can bring improved energy efficiency, “without compromising on the quality of connectivity in mobile networks”.

In a joint statement, Telenor and Ericsson said they believe that AI and ML come to the fore as enablers of “more powerful decision-support and touch-free operations” in customer-facing network domains. Emphasising the importance of harnessing the power of these technologies “in a responsible manner”, the duo added that through the partnership they will seek to unlock potential for their customers, to realise “substantial business benefits” and to establish themselves as “leading tech companies and trusted advisors in the deployment of digital technologies across their respective markets”.

The two players have also agreed to work together to develop and implement AI-driven solutions that optimise energy consumption and enhance network performance, particularly in radio access networks (which account for the lion’s share of energy usage, with some estimations pointing to around 75% of a given telco’s total energy consumption).

They will also work on the development of “explainable AI systems” to ensure transparency and reliability in network operations by applying “safe and trustworthy AI”.

These shared efforts are expected to result in joint publications about advanced ML methods in mobile networks, covering topics such as energy optimisation in the RAN and “secure, explainable AI”. And the partners plan to deploy various AI and ML systems in a live test network, with a focus on energy efficiency, anomaly detection and spectrum sharing. 

The Norwegian telco and the Swedish vendor will also aim to validate AI-driven 5G use cases and business models, as well as create teaching modules and resources to accelerate growth potential in AI-native telecommunications.

The R&D tie-up is also expected to bring benefits to the Norwegian and Nordic research communities in the fields of AI and data science. The two companies are bullish that the effort will help attract “top talents” and advance AI research personnel resources. “We expect this collaboration to break new ground when it comes to leveraging AI and automation to help address the complexity of 5G networks, drive energy efficiencies, improve customer experience – and make Telenor an AI-first company,” said Ieva Martinkenaite, SVP and head of Telenor research and innovation.

Ericsson’s head of Global Customer Unit Telenor, Rita Mokbel, noted the pair expect to benefit from the tie-up as “we will act on workable innovations as soon as possible to the benefit of our customers.”

The move is part of Telenor’s broader ambition to become a lead player in the AI R&D sector, a strategic focus that is being driven by the telco’s new CTO, Amol Phadke, who talked to TelecomTV recently about Telenor’s strengthened focus on AI and the challenges around implementing the technology across highly different markets. You can watch the exclusive interview here.

- Yanitsa Boyadzhieva, Deputy Editor, TelecomTV

Email Newsletters

Sign up to receive TelecomTV's top news and videos, plus exclusive subscriber-only content direct to your inbox.