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NGMN Green Future Networks Project Demands Network Equipment Circularity and Increased Efforts in Global Sustainability Standardization

In two White Papers, the Alliance emphasizes the necessity of Life Cycle Assessment methodology and a collaborate approach for ICT industry players.

 

Frankfurt, Germany, July 20, 2021: Today, the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance has released two new White Papers: “Green Future Networks: Sustainability Challenges and Initiatives in Mobile Networks” and “Green Future Networks: Network Equipment Eco-Design and End to End Service Footprint” – of which the first is exploring the data-driven assessments and research of the environmental footprint of digital goods and services, while the second focuses on eco-design and its implications.

In its White Papers, developed by 24 companies working jointly on the Alliance’s Green Future Networks project, NGMN requires to put the focus on assessing the environmental footprint of the Information and Communication Technologies’ (ICT) sector. This should be done at the different levels of the supply chain and with emphasis on the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) method as the basis of circularity. The overall goal is to reduce the use of materials with high environmental impact – i.e. critical raw materials – in order to achieve a significant reduction of the environmental impacts and align with a 1.5°C trajectory in line with the ITU recommendation L.1470. NGMN encourages operators, vendors, research institutions and other ecosystem players to participate in standardization efforts on the equipment environmental footprint reduction in order to share knowledge, develop and adopt common approaches. For further details see here and here.

Further, NGMN sees a strong need for the industry to increase the efforts in developing common methodologies to bring solutions to the complex question of assessing services’ environmental footprint. This might be realized for example through collaborative partnerships between actors with different expertise.

Anita Döhler, CEO at the NGMN Alliance, says: “In order to succeed in the implementation of real circular economy in the ICT sector, different sectors need to work together with global optimization goals as a common strategy. We at NGMN invite operators, vendors, research institutions and other interested ecosystem players to take part in our Green Future Networks project to help further enlarging its global impact – for the benefit of human.”

With its White Papers, the Green Future Networks project presents the method of Life Cycle Assessment, which allows to more accurately assess the network equipment’s environmental footprint – among others providing a view on the materials’ footprint and the role of critical raw materials as part of the products’ sustainable design (eco-design). Furthermore, the benefits of network equipment re-manufacturing and refurbishment as well as innovation in packaging inspired by eco-design principles are exemplified. Also, the White Papers present a list of recommendations for operators and vendors on how to expand their activities regarding the eco-design of products – showing how measures in different areas help reducing the environmental footprint.

Jeroen Cox, Strategic Lead Energy & Environment at KPN, says: “Critical raw materials are significant in the design of network equipment. Circular economy strategies like reducing, refurbishing or recycling should be considered to lower the supply risk of the materials in collaboration with partners in the value chain.”

Arash Ashouriha, SVP at Deutsche Telekom and Chairman of the NGMN Board, stresses: “At Deutsche Telekom, we lay a great deal of emphasis on reducing waste and recycling of resources. Our approach of ‘sharing instead of owning’ contributes to resource conservation which is not only good for the environment but also brings along cost savings, and reduced waste of material. We are very excited to be a part of NGMN’s eco-design initiative and we further encourage the industry to keep circular economy as a central focus point in all the activities.”

The NGNM Green Future Networks project was launched in October 2020. It works actively with standardization organizations related to sustainability efforts relevant for telecom networks and issues new recommendations focusing on metrics, eco-design and energy efficiency – to provide guidance to the telecommunication industry in order to significantly reduce the environmental impacts and align with a 1.5°C trajectory in line with the ITU recommendation L.1470.

 

Further Information

The NGNM Alliance recommendations include:

  • Companies are recommended to develop and increase awareness of the challenges related to Green House Gas emissions and resources depletion (scarce or critical materials) of network equipment. To this end, the technical skills on eco-design and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) need to be expanded, specially from vendor side.
  • NGMN strongly recommends all mobile network operators and equipment manufacturers to use circular economy principles (for instance, according to ITU-T L.1023) and environmental footprint assessment (using LCA method, for instance with ITU-T L.1410) and to integrate them in the procurement process.
  • Investigating new business models related to circular economy paradigm is advised. For instance, switching to Product-Service-System (PSS) could reduce the environmental footprint, leading to different hardware design strategies, considerations about product life expectancy, modularity and upgradeability. There is evidence that applying this kind of business model can lead to significant improvements and we encourage companies to look for this kind of solutions.
  • In order to continue advancing in the networks environmental footprint reduction, NGMN calls the industry to increase the efforts to collaborate in order to develop common methodologies to bring solutions to the complex question of assessing services environmental footprint. Collaborative partnerships between actors with different expertise will also help to overcome a lack of skilled experts to this end.
  • NGMN recommends that vendors, operators, research institutions and other ecosystem players participate in standardization efforts on the equipment environmental footprint reduction to share knowledge and to develop and adopt common approaches.
  • Also, NGMN strongly encourages vendors to expand their activities regarding eco-design of products, taking the environmental footprint into account as well as critical materials usage, refurbishing and re-manufacturing.

 

NGMN Green Future Networks Network Equipment Eco-Design and End to End Service Footprint

Green Future Networks: Network Equipment Eco-Design and End to End Service Footprint

The main goal of the present White Paper is to give an overview of the existent procedures and visions for eco-design of Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) network equipment. In order to introduce network equipment eco-design principles, this White Paper investigates the strategy to reduce the environmental footprint and then presents the basis of circularity. It presents a method called Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), which allows to assess the network equipment environmental footprint with an accurate level of precision and completeness. A view on the materials footprint and the role of critical raw materials as part of product’s eco-design is given considering the associated supply risks. Other important topics dealt in this White Paper are network equipment re-manufacturing and refurbish benefits as well as innovation in packaging inspired in eco-design principles. To finalize, the status of work on the development of a methodology to measure the end-to-end services footprint is presented.

NGMN Green Future Networks Sustainability Challenges

Green Future Networks: Sustainability Challenges and Initiatives in Mobile Networks

The NGMN Green Future Network project expands on the discussion of sustainability as outlined in the NGMN 5G White Paper v2.0 and is focused on the identification and mitigation of environmental impacts generated by the network part of the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) sector.

 

This is the first White Paper resulting from the NGMN Green Future Network project. It introduces the subject of sustainability in mobile networks and provides context of this broad and complex topic. The background, measurement and sector targets for greenhouse gas emissions impacting climate change are described, along with the exploration of renewable energy as a key strategy for service providers to tackle emissions, high level Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure the environmental performance, standardization work, energy efficiency in networks, as well as operator and vendor net-zero initiatives.

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NGMN Alliance Publishes Second 5G White Paper

Frankfurt, Germany – The Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance published its second 5G White Paper and has launched further projects based on its conclusions.

After the highly recognised NGMN 5G White Paper published in 2015, the NGMN Alliance followed up with another leading message to the mobile industry demonstrating how NGMN continues to drive the ecosystem forward.

Whilst initial 5G services have been launched, there is much more underway to realise the full potential of 5G. The NGMN White Paper lays out how 5G is expected to increasingly enable new business models and many new use cases, and gives its recommendation on how to realise the full benefits of virtualisation, cloud, edge computing and more.

One of the obvious conclusions is, that the industry must avoid fragmentation by adopting global standards with open, interoperable interfaces and application programming interfaces, thereby delivering the promise of agility and scalability.

Some of the key elements the 5G White Paper 2 highlights are:

  • A common Operator platform architecture is desired in order to allow edge computing to be used on a global scale.
  • Mobile Network Operators are uniquely placed to provide a fully integrated solution for Verticals that encompasses networks, clouds and platforms, with dynamic customisation, partnerships, end-to-end management, carrier-grade security and efficient spectrum use. Mobile Network Operators and Verticals should increase their engagement to develop meaningful, mutually-beneficial partnerships and business models in order to fully deliver the 5G potential.
  • Increased focus needs to be given to further improving energy efficiency, sustainability, social wellbeing, trust, and to digital inclusion.

Drawing on some of the challenges and actions identified in the White Paper, the NGMN Alliance recently launched two projects: Future Networks Cloud Native Platform, to create a holistic view on how network cloudification should be exploited, and Future Green Networks, to drive energy efficiency and carbon footprint reduction.

Nick Sampson, Director, Wireless Access and Core Network Standardisation, Orange, and co-editor of the White Paper, mentions: “Building on NGMN’s first 5G White Paper, this document emphasises key actions to support the continuing delivery of the 5G promise, in terms of enabling new business models and opportunities, and achieving the required agility to meet a myriad of requirements from existing and new users.”

Javan Erfanian, Distinguished Member of Technical Staff, Bell Canada, and co-editor of this White Paper indicates: “Following our 5G launch, we are pleased to continue working with the global industry and the entire ecosystem to drive and realise the full 5G vision for the benefit of all our customers. The NGMN White Paper 2 targets the next phase in this journey both to outline key requirements and success factors, including the new and extended value created and delivered by the mobile network operators working together with a broad partner ecosystem.”

“The 5G White Paper 2 provides a guideline for the 5G evolution with new visions, new use cases and new challenges. Engagement with Verticals is identified and highlighted to fully realise the NGMN’s 5G vision. This document further describes the unique and expanded role of the mobile network operator as a network and services provider. It is worthy of being the reference for producing 5G specifications and promoting the 5G ecosystem,” says Nan Hu, Lead Researcher and Manager of 5G Standardisation, China Mobile Research Institute, China Mobile, and third co-editor of the White Paper.

Anita Döhler, CEO, NGMN, points out: “The NGMN White Paper 2 describes the 5G objective of enabling and contributing to prosperity and productivity with significant energy and resource efficiency, sustainability, social wellbeing, trust and inclusion and promotes the engagement with the wider ecosystem to fully address the 5G outreach.  I would like to thank everyone who worked on this position paper, which is a very valuable asset for the overall industry. As stated above, our White Paper kicked off several new activities already. This is an exciting time to be joining the NGMN Alliance and I look forward to continuing on the journey to 5G success and beyond.”

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NGMN Alliance Announces: Ms. Anita Döhler as New CEO

The Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance announces Ms. Anita Döhler as new CEO and Board Director. She will take over her new role from Dr. Peter Meissner, who will retire from this position on June 30, 2020.
Since its incorporation in 2006, Dr. Peter Meissner acted as founding director and CEO of the NGMN Alliance. Under his leadership, NGMN grew from a handful of operators to a group that consists of 100 operators, vendors and research institutions – plus over 20 cooperation partner organisations – and has successfully guided and shaped the evolution of 4G and 5G. Peter Meissner will remain active as Senior Advisor to the NGMN Board.
Emmanuel Lugagne Delpon, Group CTO of Orange and Chairman of the Board of NGMN said: “Peter has been at the helm of NGMN as CEO for nearly 14 years. He led NGMN through the development of the 4G White Paper, the subsequent LTE-based Work Programme, the 5G White Paper and the following 5G Work Programme and, recently, the initiation of “Beyond 5G”. These activities have substantially impacted the developments in standardisation and the industry to meet the ambitious requirements of the global telecommunication community. Peter drove the growth of NGMN to an active and impactful organisation with a strong global presence. We thank Peter for his leadership and relentless drive for the success of NGMN and the partnership and wish him all the best for his well-deserved retirement.
At the same time, we welcome Ms. Anita Döhler as our new CEO and Board Director. She is a long-term telecoms industry executive, with hands-on operator and vendor experience. Her qualifications are outstanding, and we are looking forward to working with Anita to drive the next step of the evolution of telecommunications technology in a dynamically growing ecosystem and with new requirements, that are not only technically driven, but have become an integral part of the ecological and societal challenges of the future.”
“I am proud to be leading NGMN as one of the major driving forces of the telecommunications industry,” said Anita Döhler. “This industry has become a solid backbone of the day to day life of global society, which was proven during the recent COVID-19 crisis. I am looking forward to contributing to the future of communication together with the leading operators, vendors and research institutions of the world, as well as new players from other industries that are joining the telecommunication ecosystem. With 5G on a quite successful growth trajectory, NGMN is now going to accelerate the full 5G realisation in our Work Programme. You can expect to hear more from us soon.”
Anita Döhler will take over from Dr. Peter Meissner on July 1st, 2020, joining the NGMN office team in Frankfurt.

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NGMN Green Telco Activities

In its conference call on 22nd April 2020 the NGMN Board of Directors unanimously decided to engage on activities towards carbon neutrality.

A new team will be established shortly to analyze and determine 5G energy consumption, renewable energy sources, and other related topics.

In a first step all operator partners are invited to discuss and outline the objectives of the initiative, while in step two also all industry partners and researchers will join and complement.

All NGMN partners will work together to introduce aligned green demands to the ecosystem.