Environmental protection and cost savings are the most commonly used motivations for energy efficiency studies in academia. But how true is this? Are there actually some other “covered” reasons for operators to “push” to find solutions towards green mobile radio networks? After many discussions with some operators and vendors, I realized that marketing is also an important driver. At the end, it is always cool to be an “environmental friendly company” which sells “green” products and services. Then, what is the “main” incentive? Probably the answer to this question changes from operator to operator.
Cost saving is indeed very important for the operators in developing countries with many off-grid sites. In these countries, energy cost can constitute more than 50 percent of operator’s OPEX. Therefore energy saving means millions of euros reduction in energy bill annually. What about other operators? Even though energy is not a major factor in their OPEX (yet), it is still important considering the declining revenues. However, I’ve just learned completely new and very surprising reason behind seeking energy-efficient solutions for the biggest operator in Turkey, i.e., Turkcell. Turkcell is now deploying new Psi-Coverage solution(i.e., just one standard base station radio connected to three antennas) from Ericsson that consumes 40% lower power consumption compared to traditional solutions. Do want to learn the “secret reason” behind? The supportive motivation for Turkcell is to decrease the annual spectrum license fee that operators have to pay for the number of carries deployed at each site in Turkey!! I am not sure how common is this charging system in the world, but I learned that Turkcell is paying around 3000 dollars per year for a 3 sector site. It is huge isn’t it considering the number of sites in the network? So with the “energy efficient” 3G solution, Turkcell is not only saving energy but also decreasing this annual license fee significantly!
It seems that real world is completely different than what we think so operator’s reasonings are unique as their network! :) However, regardless of the main and/or supportive motivations of energy savings, its necessity is unquestionable for operators.