The GSMA today announced that its Mobile Energy Efficiency (MEE) Network Benchmarking Service, launched in November 2010, has now recruited a further 17 mobile network operators (MNO), growing the total number of operators supporting the initiative to 20 worldwide.  MEE participating operators manage 150 networks across 100 countries, accounting for 40 per cent of global mobile subscribers. Initial findings from the methodology are expected to be completed by summer 2011.

Operators including Airtel, Axiata, Bharti Infratel, China Mobile, CSL, Idea, Kyivstar, Mobinil, MTN, MTS, NTT Docomo, Orange, Orascom, T-Mobile, Telefónica, Telekom Austria, Telenor, Telecom Italia, Telstra, and Zain support the MEE service, which will:

  • Identify and quantify energy efficiency savings for MNOs;
  • Benchmark networks against a consistent set of four key performance indicators: energy per connection, energy per base station, energy per unit of traffic, and energy per unit of revenue; and
  • Report on aggregate mobile network greenhouse gas emissions, globally and by region, using 2009 data as a baseline.

“I am very proud that we have reached scale so quickly and have attracted some of the mobile industry’s leading MNOs, with many more expected to join soon,” said Gabriel Solomon, Senior Vice President, Public Policy, GSMA. “The GSMA’s approach is a practical and pragmatic answer to what can be a very complex issue.”

The GSMA’s approach is closely aligned to the European Commission’s Recommendation on Mobilising Information and Communications Technologies[1] to facilitate the transition to an energy-efficient, low-carbon economy.

The GSMA is actively working with standards bodies such as the ITU who are developing an appropriate methodology to assess the life cycle impact of the ICT industry. By focussing on mobile networks, the GSMA’s MEE captures the vast majority of mobile industry emissions. The mobile industry published its Green Manifesto, November 2009, which estimated that 84 per cent of the mobile industry’s direct emissions are consumed by the network and only 16 per cent by devices.[2]

“MEE is a major contribution to advancing the energy efficiency of use of renewable energy to power base stations. Since 2008 all ITU standards have taken into account the need for energy efficiency and we are now working on a standard in this particular area. In addition ITU is working with GSMA, and other partners, to create a definitive set of methodologies to measure the environmental impact of ICTs, make comparisons of ICT-related emissions, and illustrate the significant contribution that ICTs can make to combat climate change,” said Mr. Malcolm Johnson, Director, ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau.

MEE is part of the GSMA’s holistic approach protecting the environment and complements the activities of the Green Power for Mobile (GPM) programme, which is advancing the use of renewable energy to power base stations. Within GPM, the Community Power from Mobile programme aims to catalyse the deployment of power to previously un-served remote, off-grid areas by leveraging rural mobile networks as primary customers, and using excess power generate to serve local communities.