50% of mobile operators committed to net-zero targets: GSMA

The number of mobile operators committed to emissions cuts has increased by more than 50 percent over the last year, according to a new GSMA report.
Green telecom tower in IrelandThe 2022 Mobile Net Zero Report from GSMA reveals that 49 operators representing 62 percent of the industry by revenue have committed to cutting emissions over the next decade. This represents an increase of 18 operators since 2020. The report said 50 percent of mobile network operators by revenue have committed to net-zero targets by 2050 or earlier.

Despite double-digit growth in data traffic and the global expansion of 5G networks, the report shows that operators limited increases in carbon emissions to 2 percent on average in 2021. Investment in more energy-efficient network equipment and lower-carbon energy sources helped industry players limit their carbon impact.

Data traffic rose 31 percent last year, with electricity up 5 percent, but associated carbon emissions only grew by 2 percent.

The telecom industry is turning to artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and virtualization to optimize power use in equipment, centralize network resources and avoid unnecessary heating or air-conditioning.

Operators sourced 18 percent of electricity from renewable sources during 2021 against as against 14 percent in 2020.

GSMA’s Director General Mats Granryd said: “We have more to do to achieve our net zero ambitions, but mobile will undeniably play an essential role in helping industries and individuals across the globe reduce their carbon impact.”