LIVE FROM MWC LAS VEGAS 2022: While the mobile industry has been behind sustainability efforts for years, it’s even more important now amid skyrocketing energy cost, which is why Amazon Web Services (AWS), NEC and NTT Docomo’s recent trial to reduce power consumption on 5G standalone core looks promising.

The trio announced at MWC 2022 Barcelona that they would jointly work on a proof-of-concept trial to test the energy efficiency of AWS Graviton2 processors across elements of NTT Docomo’s 5G core network.

The trial tested performance within a 5G core hybrid cloud environment leveraging AWS Graviton2 and Docomo’s on-premises network functions virtualisation (NFV) infrastructure.

Hiroyuki Oto, SVP and GM of core network development for NTT Docomo, stated on a video during a keynote address that he was surprised to see an average of 70 per cent reduction in power consumption during the trial.

Adolfo Hernandez, vice president of global telco industry for AWS (pictured), went a bit father by describing the results as “mind blowing” during his keynote address.

“I think it’s just good timing  for us as an industry,” he noted. “Sustainability is super important. “We need to think about this seriously, and we need to discuss it as an industry.”

With the first phase of the trial complete, the companies plan to conduct a second phase to test the 5G core network function on AWS Outposts equipped with Graviton2 processors on Docomo’s premises.

Hernandez noted running workloads in the cloud was at least 3.6 times more efficient than running them in a data centre.

He stated AWS is currently powering 85 per cent of its operations with renewable energy with the goal of reaching 100 per cent by 2025.

Additional trends
In addition to sustainability, Hernandez identified three more trends that are driving innovation across the telecommunications sector.

The first is telcos need to become “technos” to provide new use cases to enterprises.

“Being a techno enables telecommunications [companies]to partner with new players like AWS and our partners, and on our partner channel on our marketplace, to bring that innovation to enterprises and give growth into the telecommunication industry,” he said.

To highlight the opportunity, he cited data from Gartner that stated there’s a $5.6 trillion ICT opportunity over the next couple of years for operators

“The B2B market has not yielded the growth this industry needed, but the opportunities are really there,” he said.

The second trend is that as 5G becomes more prevalent, there’s an opportunity to blend it with enterprises’ digital transformation.

The third trend is the uptick in private networks, which Hernandez stated was a topic that continually comes up during his meetings with customers.

While enterprises have traditionally relied on Wi-Fi, it’s  expensive to provide coverage across large areas such as manufacturing facilities.

He noted private networks provide more coverage and better security than Wi-Fi when paired with the cloud.

“Private network is going to be a big market,” he said. “There’s a lot of money for a lot of people to work together and drive innovation.”