5G use will increase energy costs: study

Galaxy S10 5G press conference

More than 90 per cent of telecommunications operators fear the rollout of 5G technologies will result in much higher costs which will be passed onto consumers, according to new research.

The study, conducted by Vertiv and 451 Research, found that although there was optimism about the services 5G will enable and the interplay with edge computing, there are significant concerns about rising costs.

The finding is consistent with Vertiv’s own internal analysis which discovered that the move to 5G is likely to increase total network energy consumption by 150 to 170 per cent by 2026. The largest cost increases will be in macro, node and network data centres.

The survey questioned more than 100 global telecoms operators about the opportunities and potential obstacles of deploying 5G services and the impact on edge computing adoption. Most (88 per cent of respondents) are planning to deploy 5G in 2021-2022.

Vertiv Asia’s senior director for telecoms, Danny Wong, said it’s understandable that there are concerns when it comes to deploying this technology.

“It critical for operators to have the right infrastructure in place that would allow them to rollout 5G in the most efficient manner,” he said.

Meanwhile, the survey revealed that a large majority of operators have deployed (37 per cent) or plan to deploy (47 per cent) edge compute that is aligned with mobile infrastructure – also called multi-access edge computing.

Brian Partridge, research vice president for 451 Research, said the survey provides clarity on telecom operators’ hopes and fears around 5G and edge deployments.

“The two toughest connectivity challenges for supporting 5G topologies were revealed to be upgrading access and aggregation layer networks and adding new backhaul links.

“Survey respondents indicated that the availability of high quality connectivity to distributed POPs and ease of site acquisition were viewed as the most critical enablers to 5G success. We were frankly surprised by some of these results and believe it brings clarity to the level of transformation the industry now faces.”

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