Telecoms industry players agree it will be crucial for companies to make use of the latest innovations to ensure they operate as sustainably as possible.
This message emerged during the Green All-optical Network Forum 2022, hosted by French research and analysis organisation IDATE at Mobile World Congress (MWC) this week.
The forum provided an opportunity for stakeholders in the optical industry to explain how they cooperate and promote green, sustainable development.
Among the speakers were representatives from Pan-African mobile operator MTN, as well as mobile data-only network operator Rain, which outlined how their respective companies have worked to ensure their networks are as sustainable as possible.
Dave Kruger, head of transmission at Rain South Africa, explained why it prefers to keep as much of its network optical as possible, saying doing so ensures the network is reliable and has lower latency, and is also more energy-efficient.
“By keeping as much of the network as possible optical, you also make it greener,” he said, pointing out that optical networks use much less energy than their electronic counterparts.
Speaking via video link, Lloyd Mphahlele, GM of transport and OSS at MTN Group, shared how optical technology is allowing the mobile network operator to build a green network. As part of its “Ambition 2025” strategy, MTN is making sustainability a key focus area.See alsoMWC 2022: African telcos face big green energy challengeQatar Airways Cargo intros CO2 emissions calculator
“As part of this programme, we have launched several initiatives with the aim of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 and the emissions per customer by 77.6%,” he said.
“In collaboration with our partner Huawei, we are providing cutting-edge optical technology that seeks to reduce power consumption, even as we expand our optical footprint.
“In some cases, by deploying optical cross-connectors, we’ve been able to bring power consumption down by 85%,” he added. “This is very significant, especially for network-heavy sites such as data centres.”
Optical networks are considered the most energy-saving and efficient among all ICT infrastructure networks. Combined with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, they’ve been identified as key to ensuring that as industries continue to embrace digital transformation, they do so sustainably and in a way that helps protect the planet’s future.
Richard Jin, president of Huawei’s optical business product line, added: “We are committed to accelerating the green development of various industries through continuous innovation and upgrade of ICT technologies.”
Held under the theme “Connectivity Unleashed”, this year’s MWC zoned in on some of the challenges the mobile industry faces and its role in helping to address the climate crisis.
At COP26 last year, mobile industry business leaders and policy-makers were urged to use smart technology to achieve net-zero by 2050 and limit global warming to 1.5°C.
In addition, the ICT industry in 2020 committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45% from 2020 to 2030, in line with a new International Telecommunication Union (ITU) standard.
The ITU’s standard supports ICT companies in reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the rate necessary to meet the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.