Taiwanese telco Chunghwa Telecom has made its network more eco-friendly with the installation of Ericsson equipment for mid-band 5G that brings with it a pretty hefty energy saving.

Mary Lennighan

June 27, 2022

3 Min Read
Chunghwa goes even greener with Ericsson 5G mid-band kit

Taiwanese telco Chunghwa Telecom has made its network more eco-friendly with the installation of Ericsson equipment for mid-band 5G that brings with it a pretty hefty energy saving.

Naturally, both operator and vendor are keen to talk up the development, which essentially centres on the installation of Ericsson’s new Massive MIMO kit in Chungwha’s 5G network. But it’s also worth pointing out that Ericsson is not the only big vendor working on the reduction of the telco’s 5G-related carbon footprint: arch-rival Nokia is also in on the act.

That said, this week’s development is all about Ericsson. The Swedish vendor shared data that showed an average 33% reduction in power consumption as a result of replacing two models of its AIR mid-band Massive MIMO radio products with newer versions as part of Chungwha Telecom’s network modernisation programme with mid-band 5G.

While it did not specify how many sites generated the data – it noted simply that Chunghwa “has begun upgrading [its] installed Ericsson base of mid-band Massive MIMO” – it did point out that there is a bigger picture. The vendor said that its challenge was to prove that this upgrade could reduce energy usage enough to support Chunghwa’s aim of an annual 1% reduction in power consumption…as well as bringing about a reduction in those all-important operating expenditures.

On the first point, Ericsson says it has done just that.

“An upgrade of mid-band 5G installed base stations in an estimated 2,000 sites, along with at least 150 C-RAN (centralized radio access network) sites, would not only strengthen CHT’s 5G commercial rollout but also significantly lower both operating costs and energy usage to support their sustainability goal of a one percent annual reduction in power consumption,” the vendor said, in a statement.

It didn’t have a lot to say on the specifics of operating costs though. On paper, a power consumption reduction of that magnitude should lower opex, but with the current cost of energy crisis hitting much of the world, the sums might well look different than all parties had previously imagined,

“Sustainability has always been at the heart of our business,” said Alex Chien, President of Network Technology at Chunghwa Telecom. “We believe network modernization is a key enabler for a greener digital infrastructure as the foundation for the societal Net Zero target. Our partnership with Ericsson will accelerate our transformation to a low-carbon future,” Chien said.

This being an Ericsson announcement, Chien did not mention Chunghwa’s recently-announced two-year 5G network enhancement deal with Nokia. That deal involves the installation of new kit at 4,000 sites, including Massive MIMO equipment, with a view to both boosting performance and capacity, and reducing the telco’s carbon footprint.

At the time, Nokia talked up the ability of its AirScale portfolio to reduce energy usage and carbon emissions, in line with Chunghwa’s own aims.

Doubtless, the two big European kit makers would both like to be able to position themselves as doing something superior when it comes to the green agenda. But from the point of view of the industry as a whole, it’s actually much better that they are on the same page.


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About the Author(s)

Mary Lennighan

Mary has been following developments in the telecoms industry for more than 20 years. She is currently a freelance journalist, having stepped down as editor of Total Telecom in late 2017; her career history also includes three years at CIT Publications (now part of Telegeography) and a stint at Reuters. Mary's key area of focus is on the business of telecoms, looking at operator strategy and financial performance, as well as regulatory developments, spectrum allocation and the like. She holds a Bachelor's degree in modern languages and an MA in Italian language and literature.

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