AI can cut network energy consumption by up to 40%, finds Tele2

  • Tele2 has led a European research project looking at the role of AI in energy management
  • The Swedish telco claims the use of AI tools can deliver significant energy savings in the long term
  • It plans to make smart tools a staple in its sustainability efforts

Using artificial intelligence (AI)-based infrastructure management applications can significantly reduce the energy consumed by mobile networks, according to the results of a research project led by Tele2. 

The Swedish operator carried out the three-year AI4Green European research project, in which the likes of Orange, Turkcell, Infovista and a host of academic institutions and other companies also participated. 

The study aimed to assess the role of AI in improving mobile network energy efficiency, including the ability of AI-based management tools to optimise network capacity without affecting the experience of customers using network services. 

In a statement, Tele2 claimed that smarter mobile networks, such as those using AI, can reduce energy consumption by between 30% and 40% in the long run. It reached this conclusion after analysing network data and mobile network insights from telcos and universities from several European countries that used AI to help them “better predict the network’s traffic capacity requirements”. Tele2 concluded that it “must be able to quickly adjust its energy usage in a smarter and more sustainable way” during times of decreased network capacity demand.

According to Martina Lidman, head of data and innovation at Tele2, the research findings can have “an enormous impact on Tele2’s energy consumption” and the operator will be relying on the insights from its “continued work with AI and sustainability”. She explained, “Our nationwide mobile network consumes as much electricity as all the households in a small city, so the ability to control energy consumption on demand makes a big difference.”

The research included live testing of the energy savings achieved in Tele2’s 5G network and the operator now plans to make AI “an integrated part” of its efforts to optimise the energy supply needed to run its network.

“Our ambition is to build Sweden’s best 5G network and with accurate traffic predictions we will be able to enable our customers to have full capacity when needed, while ensuring that we save energy when the 5G network is not being used. This is good for us and it’s good for the planet,” noted Lidman.

AI tools have long been identified as key to improving telco sustainability. Last year, the head of Orange’s Green IT&Networks (Green ITN) programme, Ana Maria Galindo Serrano, highlighted the telco’s efforts to deploy AI tools and use big data for network optimisation and enhanced energy efficiency – see Orange makes progress towards greener networks.

And more recently, Vodafone UK chief network officer Andrea Dona pointed to new technologies, including AI and big data, for better managing the energy usage across its site operations – see Vodafone UK shares its recipe for energy efficiency.

–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.