Since 2021, VodafoneZiggo has been using smart software* to substantially reduce the electricity consumption of the Vodafone network. The Netherlands is the first country where Vodafone is using this technology across the board for its mobile network.As a result, electricity consumption has fallen by 5,000,000 kWh a year.
VodafoneZiggo has taken dozens of measures to improve the efficiency of the network and these are already having an impact: despite mobile data traffic increasing by a double-digit percentage in 2022, electricity consumption has dropped by nine percent.
This nine-percent energy saving on the mobile network is equal to the consumption of more than 3,200 Dutch households. By 2025, VodafoneZiggo would like to reduce its overall CO2 footprint by 50% compared to 2018. More than half of the target has already been achieved halfway to this 2025 deadline. Making the network more energy efficient is one of the many options VodafoneZiggo sees for realising the reduction, through both large and small measures.
Switching off 3G equipment
Another important example: since September 2022, employees have accelerated the process of switching off the 3G equipment that is still set up on Vodafone masts. The 3G network may have been switched off at the beginning of 2020, but there is still 3G equipment under each transmitter mast. In 2020, work began on disconnecting the power and removing this equipment. With 4,000 antenna sites, this is no mean feat. Every 3G installation consumes around 3,600 kWh of electricity per year. VodafoneZiggo has now accelerated this process and is pulling the plug on the 3G equipment at a minimum rate of 150 sites a month. The aim is to realise the maximum saving of 14.4 GWh a year as quickly as possible.
Jeroen Aanraad from the VodafoneZiggo Energy Crew: “We have over a hundred initiatives for saving energy,both on our mobile and our fixed network. In total, VodafoneZiggo consumes around 283 GWh of power each year, equivalent to that of a city such as Eindhoven. 94% of this is for Vodafone’s mobile network, the fixed Ziggo network and the corresponding data centres. The other 6% is for stores, call centres and other offices. All in all, we’re aiming to save 2% in energy each year, which is the sustainability target we agreed with the government.”
*How does the software work?
The software triggers an alarm when mobile data consumption on a transmitter mast somewhere in the Netherlands falls, and the local network is adapted accordingly. Power consumption then falls. If the local demand for data increases, the transmission location switches back to full capacity. This stand-by setting has been used for years overnight, but now it is also also being used to save energy during the day.