Three and Ericsson deploy AI to improve radio energy efficiency

Three UK and Ericsson claim to have improved energy efficiency by up to 70% at selected sites through AI, data analytics and a ‘Micro Sleep’ feature.

Andrew Wooden

June 19, 2024

2 Min Read

The deployment of ‘next-generation AI-powered hardware and software solutions’ from Ericsson is part of a network modernisation initiative Three has been engaged in over the last 18 months, says the release.

The plan was to improve network energy performance through a combination of energy efficient radios and the use of AI and data analytics. Last year Three deployed Ericsson’s dual-band Radio 4490, which it says consumes less power and is 25% lighter than previous models, which is supposed to simplify site access and speed up site upgrades.

That’s now been combined with a series of software features that apparently consume less power per radio during low traffic hours. Using machine learning, passive cooling and power-saving features, the radio works autonomously across 4G and 5G networks to switch off radio components when not active, and can switch on again ‘in microseconds’ for the next service request, says the release.

This has resulted in an improvement of network energy efficiency of up to 70% at selected sites, which Three says was completed ‘while improving network performance but reducing site footprint and lowering CO2 emissions.’

“Three UK's collaboration with Ericsson marks a milestone in our commitment to sustainability,” said Iain Milligan, Chief Network Officer, Three UK. “We've achieved excellent improvements in energy efficiency while expanding network capabilities for our customers. We plan to take these learnings on board for future projects, ensuring that we continue to improve the environmental impact of our network."

Evangelia Tzifa, Chief Technology Officer, Networks & Managed Services, Ericsson UK and Ireland, added: “Together with Three UK, we are redefining the network of the future and making it both smarter and more energy efficient. To increase network availability and performance while reducing network energy consumption is a testament to the technology and expertise of our two great teams. I am both excited and proud to know that we are building a modern digital infrastructure together that brings not only superior performance for Three customers, but also helps to make the future more promising and sustainable.”

As well as giving telcos a chance to crow about corporate sustainability goals, greater energy efficiency in networks also has the benefit of costing them less to provide services, which is far from irrelevant when Three in particular has been vocal about the high costs of running and expanding a 5G network as part of its comms around the proposed merger with Vodafone.   

About the Author(s)

Andrew Wooden

Andrew joins on the back of an extensive career in tech journalism and content strategy.

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