UK's Green Party Wants to Save Energy By Consolidating Cell Phone Networks

cell phone tower photo
Photo via smith via Flickr CC

The UK's Green Party is taking a hard look at mobile phone networks and says that unnecessary duplication of coverage is an energy waster. If the UK wants to save as much as 300 gigawatt hours a year, rival companies that are overlapping each other with the more than 50,000 base stations across the country should consolidate networks into a "super-network." The Green party has put out a report detailing how a massive energy savings could be seen if mobile phone network providers were required to work together on consolidating coverage.

James Page, industry policy adviser to the Green party, said: "The government wanted competition, but you can achieve competition without necessarily having a separate network each. The best hope is in government requiring Ofcom to begin considering environmental and energy issues, because at the moment it doesn't."

The party states that Ofcom has the ability to "optimize" the use of the networks as the switch to digital takes place for TV. And the carbon footprint of the networks should be a big part of what optimization is considered to be.

Some companies are already looking at it as a good idea:

T-Mobile and 3 have begun merging base stations in a joint venture that will see the number of T-Mobile's masts reduced from 18,000 to 15,000 by the end of this year - a move that will actually result in better coverage. Orange and Vodafone are engaged in a similar arrangement.

Verified figures have yet to be released for the project, but T-Mobile estimate that between the two companies there will be a reduction of 20% in energy requirements.

The Green Party's report states that the amount of energy wasted in the mobile phone networks equates to enough power to run one third of the London Underground, or enough electricity to power 70,000 homes.

Via the Guardian
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