Vodafone UK plans to deploy 1,500 low-power 5G units by April 2022 after a trial of new radio equipment with Ericsson resulted in a near 50 per cent reduction in energy use across its next-generation networks.

The company explained in a statement it used an Ericsson antenna-integrated radio offering for the test conducted at a Vodafone office in London, which typically consumed 43 per cent less energy for 5G networks per day compared with the kit used for previous generations.

At off-peak times, the average decrease in consumption was as much as 55 per cent per day.

The operator said the radio equipment is also 51 per cent lighter than that used for 4G, with a more compact design and enhanced energy management features.

It said the rollout of the new 5G units will enable an “environmentally responsible 5G deployment strategy” and help it hit a goal to reach net zero emissions across its UK operations by 2027, along with its broader group-level targets.

“Our strategy is simple, turn off anything we don’t need, modernise our network where possible and use the most energy efficient options available”, Vodafone UK chief network officer Andrea Dona commented.